Tiger Woods rejected an offer that Greg Norman says was “somewhere in this neighborhood” of $700 million to $800 million to participate in the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Series.
During an appearance on Fox News with Tucker Carlson that aired Monday night, Norman confirmed what he told the Washington Post in a story two months ago. Norman told the newspaper in June that the show was “amazingly massive. We’re talking about nine high numbers.”
Woods has been against LIV Golf since late last year, and he made his strongest comments at the British Open when he said players who took money funded from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund “turned their backs” on the PGA Tour that made them famous.
When an offer was made to Woods it was not clear.
“That number was there before I became CEO. So that number was there,” Norman said in a Fox News interview, which took place Sunday at Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the third LIV Golf Invitational was held.
“Look, the tiger is the mover of the needle and of course you have to look the absolute best,” Norman said. “So they originally got in touch with Tiger before I became CEO. So, yeah, that number was somewhere in that neighborhood.”
Various reports from the UK stated that Phil Mickelson received a $200 million signing bonus, while Dustin Johnson received $150 million. The 48-person fields, which play 54 holes without a cut, offer $25 million in prize money per event. Norman announced a schedule of 14 championships for the next year.
Currently in LIV Golf there is only one player – Johnson in 18th place – out of the top 20 players in the world.
The source of funding has led to sharp criticism of the series and its players being recruited as it is seen as an attempt to distract attention from its human rights record and its links to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
When asked why his competition round caused such an uproar among American golf fans, Norman answered plainly, “I don’t know.”
“I really don’t care,” Norman said. “I just love the game so much and want to develop the game of golf and we at LIV see this opportunity not just for men but for women.”
The LIV Golf Invitational is off for a month during the FedEx Cup qualifiers on the PGA Tour, returns over Labor Day weekend about an hour west of Boston, and then two weeks later plays in suburban Chicago.
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