LIV Golf boss Greg Norman has continued to wage the war on words with Rory McIlroy by sending the PGA Tour star a strong caution.
In an interview with Golf.com, Norman declared McIlroy “doesn’t know what he’s talking about” with regard to his breakaway league, which started its second season in Mexico this week.
The Australian recently said the same about Tiger Woods and complimented one unnamed major champion from last year who was willing to listen to an offer from LIV before rejecting it.
The Saudi-financed tour split professional golf down the middle in 2022, but Norman described the “vitriol and hatred” he’s received as the hardest part of the process.
McIlroy hasn’t expressed hatred towards Norman as such, but the Northern Irishman is certainly leading the PGA Tour charge in the current battle within the sport.
“They’re going to try to throw as much as they possibly can at you and try to undermine you, whichever way they can,” Norman said. “All due respect, but Rory doesn’t know anything about LIV.
“He knows something about the PGA Tour. He sits on the PAC (Player Advisory Council). But Rory doesn’t know what he’s talking about with LIV because he doesn’t know the facts.
“And if he wants to throw out a comment like that (wanting Norman to “exit stage left”) – I’ve always been a fan of Rory’s but my advice to him would be to just sit back, just take stock, watch what happens and watch what you say.
“Because in the end, there may be a situation where he’ll be asked a few questions that he may not want to answer because of the way he’s come out and been vocal on that front.”
The two-time major champion alluded to the antitrust lawsuit that was filed against the PGA Tour last August.
Ahead of last month’s Dubai Desert Classic, McIlroy revealed he was delivered a subpoena from Patrick Reed’s legal team on Christmas Eve, concerning details of the player’s meeting which happened at the BMW Championship.
LIV has since attached itself to the lawsuit and Norman believes “the truth will come out” during the litigation process which won’t start until January 2024.
This is the latest chapter in Norman and McIlroy’s verbal back-and-forth which the four-time majot champion sparked when he won the Canadian Open last season, a victory that took his PGA Tour tally ahead of Norman’s.
McIlroy is set to tee it up alongside LIV Golf players at the Masters and the Norman was relieved that Augusta National didn’t alter their criteria to block his players.
“I could never understand why they would not have the players, or any players of high quality, in any major,” Norman said. “The majors should be Switzerland. They’re out there on their own.
“Without past champions or players who have qualified under the criteria, their strength of field would be lacking.
“So, if you look at it from a business perspective, from a broadcasting standpoint, from a sponsorship standpoint, Augusta National and the Masters are a brand of their own.
“You have to think about it that way and say, ‘What’s best for the Masters?’ What’s best for the Masters is to have the best field possible, because it’s always been that way.”
Norman rated LIV’s first season 9.5 out of 10. The league has signed a broadcast deal with the CW Network in America and has added six new players to refresh its roster.
Perhaps earning Official World Golf Ranking points would’ve made it a 10? This is still a void that is currently unfilled in the LIV Golf universe.
For a man who spent 331 weeks as World No 1, Norman knows the value of the rankings and how important it is for his players to maintain eligibility for the majors.
Cameron Smith is the highest-ranked player LIV Golf has at No 5, but the points he earned for winning the Open and the Australian PGA Championship will continue to run dry if LIV doesn’t earn OWGR status.
“My frustration is for the players. The fact that Dustin Johnson, I don’t know where he is rated right now (54th),” Norman added. “But for Dustin Johnson to be rated that high is kind of a slap in the face.
“So from a player’s perspective, I feel for them. We’re fighting for it. We’ve applied for our points.
“And that might put a spotlight on (the OWGR) and their voting committee and who they are and what they represent. And are they truly fair?”
Norman has a vision for a peaceful climate in golf, but as the league reveals its franchise model in 2023, the two-time Open champion maintained “we are not going anywhere.”
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