Greg Norman and the LIV Golf International series are still the main topic. Norman stressed once again that there are many top players who want to participate in this story.
“The releases having been submitted, and we’re going to see what happens with the European Tour and the PGA Tour, but I can tell you this though: 36 of the top 150 players are playing, there’s 19 of the top 100, and six of the top 50 in that first event. Which is pretty impressive.
“And pretty impressive because there’s been a lot of white noise saying players wouldn’t even show up.
“I’ve been very proud that players have been making their choices as independent contractors, to make a decision to go and play golf wherever they want to go and play golf.
“I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve given them this opportunity. Me as a player, it’s been my goal for 45 years to grow the game of golf for players and fans and stakeholders around the world.”
Some still criticize Norman and Saudi Arabia, which they consider a state without basic human rights. The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Turkey is something many cite as an argument against the Saudi government.
“100 per cent [I understand],” Norman said. “And it’s reprehensible what happened with [Jamal] Khashoggi. Own up to it, talk about it.
But if you go back into Saudi Arabia, they’re making a cultural change from within to change that. They don’t want to have that stigma sitting over there.
“The generation of kids that I see today on the driving range, they don’t want that stigma going on into generations and their kids. They want to change that culture and they are changing it.
“And you know how they’re doing it? Golf.”
However, he does not want to get involved in the political issues of a country.
“I’m not going to get into politics, I don’t know what the Saudi government does. I don’t want to get into that. Every country has a cross to bear.
“They’re not my bosses. We’re independent. I do not answer to Saudi Arabia. I do not answer to their government or MBS [Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud].
“I answer to my board of directors, and MBS is not on that. Simple as that. So that narrative is untrue.”