Lucrative Saudi-backed golf league 'new opportunity' for players

by   |  VIEW 4034

Lucrative Saudi-backed golf league 'new opportunity' for players

The news release announcing the series listed the events taking place in seven cities around the world: London; Portland, Oregon; Bedminster, New Jersey; Boston; Chicago; Bangkok; and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The eighth event -- a team championship -- does not have a venue listed.

The venture, backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), pledges to award $250 million in total prize money while hosting eight tournaments, held June through October. Speaking to CNN Sport's Amanda Davies, the two-time major winner said he believes the new venture will provide a perfect environment to sustain the growth of golf while also allowing players themselves to expand their horizons.

Norman explained that he believes that for the "journeymen" of golf, it can be a game-changing competition. "If No. 283 (ranked player in the world), who just goes around and just plays through Asia, if he came and won $10-15 million, how great would that be for him, his family, the game of golf to actually reach out and give an opportunity for somebody, who's probably a journeyman on some tour out there, to change their lives?" Norman told Davies.

"That's part of the beauty of it." Five events occur after the end of the PGA Tour season, but three of those occur at the same time as events on the DP World Tour. "We're here to grow the game of golf.

Money from Saudi Arabia has gone into the game of golf and since 2019, Saudi Arabia has put on the Saudi International," the 67-year-old said. "That was co-sanctioned by the European Tour, now the DP World Tour.

So the money's been there and the other tours have co-sanctioned these tournaments by Saudi money. Golf is good for the world and golf is good for Saudi Arabia too. We've seen it. "Saudi Arabia has invested a lot of money into women's golf.

They're the largest investor in women's golf today. So when you look at all the facts sitting out there, yes, our investor is Saudi money. I'm proud of that because, like I said, golf is good for the world and we're just going to grow the game of golf on a worldwide basis."

It is still unclear which golfers will compete in the tournaments. Norman said that "nobody's signed up because it's an invitational and the invites haven't been sent out yet." He doesn't think, however, that they'll have any trouble attracting the biggest names.

"We're not going to have a problem getting to players," he said. "I bet you we don't have a shortage of players, to tell you the truth. "It's an invitation and the invitations will be going out and we'll gladly make an announcement about who's playing in the near future as we lead up to it.

And as I said to the players, if you're sitting out there and you're liking what you're seeing, go apply for a release. "From the European Tour, from the PGA Tour or whoever it is, go apply for a release.

You have three releases, you have the right to go play under their rules and regulations today, go do it and go play. "So you've got three out of the eight, and if you only play three then you might not get the individual world championship opportunity for the top three individual players which is $30 million at the end of the year after seven events.

So the more you play, the more chance you have of catching that pool, no different to what the FedEx is for the players today."