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greg norman pga letter

Norman’s letter to the PGA Tour was meant to be a threat – instead it was a laughing stock

It’s been another week of terrible PR for Greg Norman and his Saudi Golf League. Alex Perry tries to contain his second-hand embarrassment

 

Greg Norman PGA letter in full…

Dear Commissioner Monahan,

Surely you jest. And surely, your lawyers at the PGA Tour must be holding their breath.

As has been widely reported, you have threatened the players on the PGA Tour, all of whom are independent contractors, with lifetime bans if they decide to play golf in a league sponsored by anyone other than the Tour.

For decades, I have fought for the rights of players to enjoy a career in which they are rewarded fully and properly for their efforts. They are one-in-a-million athetes. Yet for decades, the Tour has put its own financial ambitions ahead of the players, and every player on the tour knows it.

The Tour is the Players Tour not your administration’s Tour. Why do you call the crown jewel in all tournaments outside the majors ‘The Players Championship’ and not ‘The Administration’s Championship’?

But when you try to bluff and intimidate players by bullying and threatening them, you are guilty of going too far, being unfair, and you likely are in violation of the law.

Simply put, you can’t ban players from playing golf,” the letter reads. “Players have the right and the freedom to play where we like. I know for a fact that many PGA players were and still are intersted in playing for a new league, in addition to playing for the Tour. What is wrong with that?

What is wrong with allowing players to make their own decisions about where to play and how often to play? What is so wrong with player choice? Why do you feel so threatened that you would resort to such a desparate, unwise, and unenforceable threat?

I noticed a recent article by the former chief lawyer to the Federal Trade Commission that stated:

“Let’s be clear: A lifetime ban is never going to happen. PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan is no doubt being advised by high-priced lawyers who – if they are worth even a fraction of their lofty rates – have surely advised him of the legal consequences that will blow up in the PGA Tour’s face if it imposes lifetime bans on independent contractors who choose to associate with a competitor.

“Most notably, imposing a lifetime ban on players would trigger a slam-dunk antitrust lawsuit by Norman’s upstart league, the players, or even federal antitrust enforcers who have made it a priority to protect workers’ ability to ply their trade for whomever they please without interference from corporate giants.”

Competition in all aspects of life, sport, and business is healthy and the players deserve to be well compensated, which is why so many players have expressed interest in playing in a new league. But when you threaten to end players’ careers and when you engage in unfair labor practices with your web of player restrictions, you demonstrate exactly why players are open minded about joining a league that treats players well, respects them, and compensates them according to their true worth.

Commissioner—this is just the beginning. It is certainly not the end.

Sincerely,

Greg Norman

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Alex Perry

Alex Perry

Alex has been the editor of National Club Golfer since 2017. A Devonian who enjoys wittering on about his south west roots, Alex moved north to join NCG after more than a decade in London, the last five of which were with ESPN. Away from golf, Alex follows Torquay United and spends too much time playing his PlayStation or his guitar and not enough time practising his short game.

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