Norman says LIV Golf not interested in negotiating with PGA Tour

LIV Golf chief executive Greg Norman said he was no longer prepared to negotiate with the PGA Tour and rejected the Saudi-funded series as being a "breakaway" league.

In an interview with The Australian newspaper, Norman said his offers to meet with PGA officials were repeatedly declined as the US-based circuit focused on reforming its own tour in an attempt to hang on to their leading players.

British Open champion Cameron Smith became the latest high profile-name to join the lucrative LIV series, which counts 12 major winners among its players and offers US$25 million purses in no-cut 54-hole tournaments.

The PGA Tour, which suspended members who competed on the rival LIV circuit, has since made sweeping changes including increased purses and an earnings assurance programme.

"This notion we're trying to destroy tours is not true. The PGA Tour is trying to destroy us, it's as simple as that. But the PGA Tour has not sat down and had a conversation with myself or any of my investors," Norman said on Wednesday (Sep 14).

"That's why we are where we are today. We tried awfully hard, I know I did personally for the past year... When we knew we were never going to hear from them, we just decided to go.

"We have no interest in sitting down with them, to be honest with you, because our product is working."

Reuters has contacted the PGA Tour for comment.

Norman also denied that LIV was a "breakaway" league and told the newspaper that its "business model from day 1 was always built around being inclusive".

Critics say LIV Golf, which is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, amounts to "sportswashing" by a nation trying to improve its reputation in the face of criticism over its human rights record.

When asked about that criticism and the presence of protesters at LIV's most recent event in Boston, Norman said: "I don't even pay attention to that, to be honest with you.

"All I can tell you is I'm here for the game of golf... I focus on building the best league we can." REUTERS

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