Greg Norman told LIV Golf staff members Wednesday that he is not leaving in what could best be described as a Jordan Belfort move right out of "The Wolf of Wall Street." During a conference call with league staff, the Australian spoke on LIV's next moves and its operational capacity for the future following the landmark deal struck between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (the financial backer of LIV Golf).
"The spigot is now wide open for commercial sponsorships, blue-chip companies, TV networks," Norman told staff, according to Sports Illustrated. "LIV is and will continue to be a standalone enterprise. Our business model will not change. We changed history and we're not going anywhere."
Norman's name has been notably absent from this week's merger activity. The former world No. 1 was not mentioned in Tuesday's press release, leading many to believe his role would be eliminated as a result. Additionally, PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan told CNBC that he had informed Norman of the merger just minutes before appearing on television with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan to break down the partnership.
"I can't see that scenario [where LIV Golf exists next year alongside the PGA Tour], but I haven't gotten the full evaluation, the full empirical evaluation of LIV that I'm going to do to be able to comment on that," PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said Tuesday. "But I don't see that scenario, no. To me, any scenarios that you're thinking about that bridge between the PGA Tour and LIV would be longer term in nature."
Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are two of the most high-profile names who have spoken out against Norman's involvement with LIV Golf and the PIF. Last fall, both stars agreed that the PGA Tour would come to the table and open lines of communication, with Norman being ousted from his position as a condition.
"I see that there's an opportunity out there if both organizations put a stay on their litigation," Woods said ahead of the 2022 Hero World Challenge in The Bahamas. "But that's the problem, they've got to put a stay on it. And whether or not they do that or not, there's no willingness to negotiate if you have a litigation against you. So if they both have a stay and then have a break and then they can meet and figure something out, then maybe there is something to be had.
"But I think Greg [Norman] has to go, first of all, and then obviously litigation against us and then our countersuit against them, those would then have to be at a stay as well. So then we can talk, we can all talk freely."
Litigation is now off the table following the blockbuster deal. Are Norman and LIV Golf? Only time will tell.
Rick Gehman is joined by Kyle Porter and Patrick McDonald to continue the discussion on the PGA Tour merging with the PIF and LIV Golf + previewing the RBC Canadian Open. Follow & listen to The First Cut on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.