Jupiter’s Rory McIlroy has softened his stance when it comes to LIV Golf. But in his mind the possibility of LIV and the PGA Tour talking comes down to one factor:
Greg Norman “needs to go.”
While speaking at this week’s DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, McIlroy expressed hope LIV and the PGA can reach a comprise for the good of the game.
“I think Greg needs to go. I think he just needs to exit stage left,” said McIlroy, who rose to No. 1 in the world in August after winning the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup.
“He’s made his mark, but I think now is the right time to sort of say, ‘Look, you’ve got this thing off the ground, but no one is going to talk unless there’s an adult in the room that can actually try to mend fences.’ “
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Normspann, from Palm Beach Gardens, is the CEO and face of LIV golf, whose offices are located in West Palm Beach. The series, which will be rebranded to the LIV Golf League in 2023, is funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. LIV recently completed its eight-event inaugural season at Trump National Golf Course in Doral.
Norman declined a comment through a spokesperson.
LIV recently denied a report in The Telegraph of London that Norman was being forced out and Taco Bell CEO Mark King, previously the CEO of TaylorMade, would be his replacement.
“Greg Norman is our CEO and Commissioner,” LIV’s managing director Majed Al-Sorour said in a statement. “Any suggestion that changes are being made to Greg’s title or role is patently false.”
LIV certainly got the attention of the PGA Tour this year, causing commissioner Jay Monahan to quickly react and pump millions more into his tour’s prize money, including increasing the purse of several events to $20 million. LIV distributed $255 million in prize money in its eight events.
McIlroy has been the PGA Tour’s most vocal critic of LIV and those who defected from the tour to join the upstart league, a list that includes Phil Mickelson and Jupiter’s Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson. He doesn’t believe anyone who has joined LIV should be allowed to play in the Ryder Cup and said he felt “betrayal” for the first time in his life when fellow Europeans Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson joined LIV.
McIlroy recently said the feud between LIV and the PGA Tour is “out of control” and fears it is damaging the game.
“It’s obviously been a very contentious year in golf,” McIlroy said. “And I’ve said this: The best thing in golf is to have all the best players playing together, and what’s happening right now, that’s not happening. So I fear for the game when that’s going on.
“It’s contentious because there’s lawsuits going on and people suing people; it’s very, very messy.”
Yet, he remains hopeful.
“If all that stuff can be sorted out one way or the other, then you can get to the stage where there’s forgiveness and people can have dialogue and come to some sort of common ground or compromise. But while all this is happening, it’s very hard to do that.”