Norman says LIV ‘open minded’ about changing to 72 holes

Ronan MacNamara

LIV golf boss Greg Norman (Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

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Greg Norman says LIV – which is the Roman numerals for 54 – is open to changing its format to 72 holes in the future.

The CEO of the Saudi backed tour was speaking at LIV Golf Adelaide where the prospect of increasing the number of holes played from 54 to 72 was raised.

In the build up to the Masters, Jon Rahm stated he wold like to see LIV move to 72 holes. While LIV plays 54-hole no cut events, they are ineligible for Official World Golf Ranking points and have recently withdrawn their application for their events to earn points.

Norman says any decision is a complex one in terms of economics, not just golf.

“I think from LIV’s perspective, we’re very open-minded about it, but you’ve got to understand there’s economic impact about putting television on for 72 holes,” said the Australian.

“Right now Jon hits the nail on the head. There’s no — when you can tee up on Friday, it’s a sprint to the end. There’s no warm-up time period to get you — I’m talking about from a player’s perspective now. Sometimes you can have an average first round and then you come back and shoot a 64 and get yourself back into it, now you’re into the weekend. If you really don’t play well on Friday here, you have a hard time because the quality of play here is so high, you know when you tee it off — you’ll speak to most of the guys out there. It’s a question you should ask them. It is intense pressure on it straight away because you have to perform immediately right off the bat.

“It’s a great conversation to have. We will continue to have that conversation going forward. But we sit back and say, what value do we get on putting on television on Thursday. Now, go to Evan’s — how do we build out in the future? How do we get more people, as the Premier says, to the golf course? Maybe it is Thursday and you allow another 30,000 people coming in on a Thursday.

“There are things that we sit back and look at to see what is the most optimal solution to make this a better and better and better event, and 72 holes is discussed.”

Rahm doubled down on his wish to see LIV move to 72-holes. The spaniard believes playing under the same set of competition rules as the PGA Tour would help bring a level of respect to the breakaway tour.

“I think there’s a level of comfort when I say that because it’s a little bit more of what we’re used to seeing in golf,” said the two-time major winner.

“I came to this realization, and I think it could help a lot of fans’ trust in LIV a little bit more because that’s a lot of the complaints that I see from a lot of people, but I made the analogy a little bit ago of why I think we can end up with a great product. In football, European football, you have the Premier League, you have the Spanish League, you have the German League, you have Serie A, you have the Champions League, the Euro Cup, many other things. The one thing I realized is they all play under the same set of rules. While we play under most set of rules, the one key difference is 72 holes.

“The only sport that I see that does it a little bit different to where they play pretty much the same and then the Grand Slams are different is tennis. Even within then, every tournament or every championship sat same set of rules. That’s one of the main reasons why I believe it could help us.

“But at the end of the day, LIV is a business. If it doesn’t fit the product, it doesn’t fit the product. I’m just a player. There’s a lot of people that are a lot smarter than me that can figure it out and explain why they believe 54 holes may be better for them.

“I can tell you from player experience, and I tell the people that give me that argument, if you come watch an event, you forget by Sunday that you’ve only played three rounds. It makes no difference. You’re competing to win. You win or you don’t win. By the end of the day, if I told you, oh, it was 54 holes, you really don’t think about it because you’re just immersed in the competition, and the competition is the same.

“You won going down the stretch with a one- or two-shot lead or one- or two-shot deficit, the feelings are all the same. That would be also my counter argument to that. If you haven’t experienced it and haven’t given it a chance, it’s not fair to judge without knowing.”

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