‘He has his opinion, I have mine’ – Tiger Woods on Phil Mickelson controversy
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Greg Norman has revealed LIV Golf Investments made a “mind-blowingly enormous” offer for Tiger Woods to join its breakaway league. The Saudi-funded LIV Golf Series gets underway at the Centurion Club in Hertfordshire on Thursday after months of speculation, with Phil Mickelson now taking part.
Mickelson confirmed on Monday that he’s setting sail for the new competition, which is expected to rival the PGA Tour. Former world No. 1 Dustin Johnson is also due to tee off in St. Albans this week after accepting an offer of “around £100million” to leave golf’s establishment behind, per the Telegraph.
As astonishing as that offer sounds, it appears Woods waved on an even grander sum in order to remain with the PGA. That’s after Greg Norman—who serves as chief executive for LIV Golf Investments—told the Washington Post just how much money Woods turned down.
The 15-time major champion’s contract offer was “mind-blowingly enormous; we’re talking about high nine digits,” said Norman. It was estimated earlier this year that Woods has earned north of $1.7billion (£1.4bn) from golf over the course of his 26-year career, meaning such a sum isn’t quite as significant to him as it would be to most other stars.
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Norman himself will be handsomely compensated for his work promoting the LIV Golf Series to the masses. Jack Nicklaus said in May that he turned down offers “in excess of $100m” to take on a job “probably similar to the one that Greg is doing.”
The LIV Golf Series is planning to host eight events in 2022, each of which will feature a $25m (£20m) prize purse. The competition is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is furthering its western sports investments after purchasing Newcastle United last year.
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The PGA has been explicit in its judgement that any players who participate in the LIV Golf Series will be subject to sanctions. This will presumably prevent said stars from taking part in the four majors, as well as other disciplinary measures.
Mickelson—who has won every major except the U.S. Open—hasn’t played since February but will be among the biggest names competing at St. Albans come Thursday. Long-time rival Woods won’t be with him on the start list, however, as he prioritises legacy over an eye-watering pay cheque.
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