The war of words, ahead of the news that LIV Golf players will be taking the PGA Tour to court, has again heated-up with Davis Love III savaging LIV CEO Greg Norman.
We read what Billy Horschell had to say about LIV Golf on the eve of the recent Genesis Scottish Open while other players, and on both sides of this growing divide in golf have given their opinion.
However, with only a few weeks till Love III leads a still unknown US team into the Presidents Cup competition at Quail Hollow, and Love III has not just given Norman both barrels, he’s lined-up a row of battleships to fire salvos at the golfer known as the Great White Shark.
In a standout piece written by Michael Rosenburg for Sports Illustrated and picked-up USA Today newspaper, Love III has spoken about how he sees the impact LIV Golf is having on the game with the now 58-year-old super-critical, not on the source of the LIV funding, but the ‘influence and publicity’ it is having among those considering joining the exodus to LIV Golf.
“If it’s for good publicity, it’s not working”, Love said of LIV Golf.
“Patrick Cantlay made $22 million on the course last year and he started at zero this year. And he’s looking like he’s not gonna get to $22 million this year. David Duval was World No. 1, and then he started playing badly and he’s on TV as an announcer. It’s the beauty of our sport. You have to perform.”
We all recall Norman’s attempt in the early 1990s to kick-start a separate tour of some 30 players, and Love revealed a side to Norman’s ego-driven plans that we are learning now 30-years on for a first time, revealing Norman did not have enough user-friendly players on the Players Advisory Board (PAC).
“I had to convince him (Norman) to go to a meeting in Arnold Palmer’s office,” Love says. “Arnold said, ‘This is over with. Be done with it. Jack (Nicklaus) and I set this tour up and we didn’t take any ownership in it. And it’s not about just the top players. It’s about everybody.’”
Love continued saying: “Greg Norman wanted to be Jack Nicklaus from Australia. He came to the United States and he became famous and became a Hall of Famer. He never was on the Players’ Advisory Council, never asked to be on the board, never asked to help. Never would show up for mandatory player meetings.
“And a little kid from Ireland (Rory McIlroy) wants to be on the PGA Tour. And he comes to the United States, and he’s going to be a Hall of Famer. He’s on the board of the Tour. Does he agree with every decision? No. When McIlroy wants a change, he pushes for it. Most players understand: The Tour is the players. I voted for the FedEx Cup. I voted for changing the qualifying. We’ve made a jillion changes to the Tour”.
It led to Love being asked why Norman was so determined to compete against the Tour?
“Greed,” Love says. “He just doesn’t like our system and he wants it to be his system.”
Quoting from Rosenberg’s article, he spoke of Norman’s attitude when, after captaining the 2009 and 2011 International Team, how he felt in not being offered the captaincy for a third time.
“It’s disappointing. Extremely disappointing,” Norman told Fox Sports. When a club he built, the Medalist Club in Jupiter, Florida, asked somebody else to help redesign the course, he got furious, called it “a slap in the face” and resigned in fury. This is how it is with Norman. You don’t just have to give him what he wants. You have to keep giving him what he wants. Love says, “there’s a lot of guys that won’t sign up, probably, because they don’t want Greg to be their boss.”
Irish Golfer Magazine revealed months ago how Norman declined attending the 2010 and 2015 Former Champions Dinner at St. Andrews, but then demanded the R&A roll out the red carpet for him to tee-up in the 150th Open.
We know LIV Golf has sought Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points for their events and though we know also LIV has failed to satisfy 15 clauses in seeking OWGR recognition, Love says: “Did you tell Greg there’s a year probation period before points are awarded? That they’re not going to get points for a year?”
Rosenberg indicated LIV Golf players will announce (as has now happened) they will be officially taking the PGA Tour to court, fighting that players like Henrik Stenson cannot be stripped of the Ryder Cup captaincy, and with Love asked how he has coped in forming a USA Team amid all the controversy.
“Some of the players understood it. Some of them think they are going to court or whatever and are going to prevail, and they’re gonna get to come back. What they don’t seem to understand is that players make the rules”, said Love. “So, we can strengthen the rules rather than loosening the rules, right?”
“Well, here’s the biggest lever, and it’s not the nice lever. But if a group of veterans and a group of top current players align with 150 guys on the Tour, and we say, ‘Guess what? We’re not playing, that solves it, right? If LIV guys play in the U.S. Open, we’re not playing. If they sue in court, and they win, well, we’re not playing. You know, there won’t be a U.S. Open. It’s just like a baseball strike.
“You’ve got a 50/50 chance, maybe, that you’re never gonna get to do that. Is that worth it? To lose your legacy? Lose a chance to play for majors, to be in the Hall of Fame, to be a Ryder Cup captain?”
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