Greg Norman says Tiger Woods was never offered a $A1 billion sign-on fee to join LIV Golf, as has been widely reported.
In an exclusive interview with foxsports.com.au on Friday, the LIV Golf chief cleared the air about reports the 15-time major winner was last year courted by the Saudi-backed tour with an astronomical cash offer.
A figure between $700 and $USD800 million ($A997m-$1.1bn) was thought to have been offered to Woods, based off comments Norman made to the Washington Post in June.
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“(The offer was) mind-blowingly enormous; we’re talking about high nine digits,” Norman was quoted as saying at the time.
But Norman has gone back on the record to provide clarity, saying that media outlets have misconstrued his words.
Instead, Woods was offered a much smaller sign-on fee, with the remainder of LIV’s $A1 billion pitch made up of potential future earnings through ownership of one of its 12 franchises.
“To be honest, we don’t comment on any past or current offers to any players, but obviously the media picks up on information, tid bits, white noise, and they run with it,” Norman told foxsports.com.au.
“I just want to make sure for clarification here, the numbers that were thrown out were inclusive of future franchise value.
“And so if you take a look at this number that’s being thrown out there … the generational wealth that this franchise opportunity has for the individual players is incredible.”
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He added: “That’s how it is. It’s not the cash value. We never offered that cash value to Tiger Woods. That’s the reality of it.”
It’s unclear exactly what amount was tabled by LIV.
Either way, Woods rejected the offer and has firmly sided with the PGA Tour in its war against LIV Golf.
This week, Woods led a meeting of select PGA Tour players to discuss the threat of LIV Golf, which has poached several major-winners including Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau.
Open Champion and world No.3 Cameron Smith will reportedly join them soon after inking a $A140 million deal, according to The Telegraph.
Meanwhile, LIV Golf is still in the process of attempting to secure Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points for its events, which would prevent its members from sliding down the pecking order.
It has been suggested by some that LIV needs official recognition by the OWGR to establish itself as a fully-fledged, professional tour.
However, Norman argues that given LIV is attracting more big names, and will likely continue to do so, the shoe is now on the other foot.
Asked if LIV Golf needs world ranking points to be sustainable, Norman countered: “I think it’s important for the sustainability of the OWGR, to be honest with you.
“LIV Golf is a proven platform with very significant players with very high ranking points with a very proven model that works. So I think, really, the onus is on the OWGR as an independent organisation to see that LIV Golf is worthy of these ranking points because of what we’ve produced and what we’ve done.
“We’ve done all the right things. LIV is living up to it, LIV is proving it. So it’s up to the independent board, the independent chairman.
“I’m confident they’ll sit back and see that the LIV Golf League (from 2023) and the LIV Golf Invitational Series we’ve done today is worthy and warranted of OWGR points.”
LIV Golf’s next event is on September 2 in Boston, followed by trips to Chicago, Bangkok, Jeddah and Miami.
Next year will see the competition expand to 14 core tournaments — including one in Australia — while a further 11 events will be held worldwide as part of the International Series it co-runs with the Asian Tour.