Norman Wonders If Governing Bodies Are A "Cabal"
World Ranking points charm offensive hits a snag when LIV's front man talks to the New York Post.
In yesterday’s News and Notes I highlighted the respectful tone LIV Golf was taking toward the majors. There is obvious wisdom in the Saudi-backed league avoiding confrontation with the non-PGA Tour Five Families: if LIV is to succeed they will need to have their players in majors. Otherwise they are conducting a series of tournaments for has-beens.
The respectful tone lasted a day as LIV’s Commissioner-for-now, Greg Norman, did what he does best: say way too much in an interview.
This one took place “poolside” at Trump Bedminster with the New York Post’s Mark Cannizzaro. Norman set the grievance tone early by lamenting the treatment of modern players.
For 45 years, I went through every piece of crap these players are going through, because there was only one institution in the game (the PGA Tour) and it was so unfair on us, on the players.
So, so unfair. This, coming from a man reporting to a Crown Prince who had a critic strangled, carved up with a bonesaw, and incinerated. Allegedly.
Here is the Shark doing what he does best: contradicting himself in a matter of sentences.
Q: What do you make of the perception that because you tried to start that world tour in the ’90s, fighting Deane Beaman [SP] and Tim Finchem, this is a continuation of a vendetta?
A: Look, that’s a very easy, shallow comment to make. It’s an easy out. This whole notion about me and Finchem, Beaman [SP] and Monahan, is it true? Yeah, to a degree it is true, because I did challenge them on player rights.
Very shallow! And to a degree, true.
He’s not wrong. You can be both shallow and accurate. Norman tends to be the former more than the combo platter.
As it relates to the major championships, Norman has begun kissing up to Peter Dawson, who, since leaving as R&A Chief where he downplayed distance advances or the palatability of Royal Portrush. Since leaving, Dawson has been head of Dubai’s golf effort and President of the International Golf Federation. The 73-year-old now juggles jobs as Old Course Hotel Managing Director and head of the Official World Golf Ranking.
Q: How do you see the World Ranking points situation unfolding, with all of the key figures on the board being heads of organizations that are anti-LIV (PGA Tour, USGA, PGA of America, R&A, Augusta National)?
A: That’s a good question. The person who’s at the helm is extremely intelligent and understanding about growing the game of golf — Peter Dawson (the former head of the R&A). He gets it. Peter and I have had open discussions about this.
FYI the game shrank while he was head of the R&A. Just saying. But Greg, please, keep saying more than you should…
I flew to Scotland to sit down and have dinner with him. He has our application, so he’ll go through the right process to get it there. We brought up recusing Monahan and (Keith) Pelley (the DP World Tour commissioner) and (Martin) Slumbers (who heads the R&A) and everybody who’s had a negative comment about LIV, and they cannot vote. They can’t. From an OWGR (Official World Golf Rankings) standpoint, if I’m in (Dawson’s) shoes, I’m getting independent legal advice.
Norman demanding vote recusals, suggesting legal vulnerability and complimenting Dawson who “gets it”? Fun times in the Five Family universe.
Or is it a secret political faction?
Q: Everyone is waiting for Augusta National to weigh in, yet their top man, Fred Ridley, has been silent.
A: I spoke to Fred Ridley. They’ve weighed in pretty hard against (LIV). The majors should stay Switzerland, they have a responsibility for one event, not a league. But it also tells you is there a cabal there? This is the slippery slope you go down about what LIV is starting to expose.
Someone at LIV HQ may want to tell Norman it’s a slippery slope to suggest the majors are part of a cabal while needing their votes.
The Official World Golf Ranking has published guidelines for eligibility. LIV is choosing not to play by those rules with its season-long 54 holes and limited-size fields.
So let the countdown begin to the next poolside conversation at a Trump property where he accuses Dawson of fraud. Assuming Norman hasn’t been replaced by then.