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Greg Norman fires back at PGA Tour’s Saudi ultimatum: ‘This is just the beginning’

Greg Norman is not backing down from the PGA Tour.

Norman, who’s leading LIV Golf Investments’ Saudi-backed efforts to start a rival golf league, fired back after PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan’s declaration that any player jumping ship would be banned from playing on the Tour.

“Surely you jest,” Norman began in a Thursday letter to Monahan shared by multiple outlets. “And surely, your lawyers at the PGA Tour must be holding their breath.”

Norman’s letter ended just as strongly: “This is just the beginning. It certainly is not the end.”

Monahan told the Associated Press Wednesday that he told the PGA Tour’s players, “we’re moving on and anyone on the fence needs to make a decision” regarding whether they would join the Saudi-backed effort. Many top golfers have publicly committed to the Tour, and Brooks Koepka said Wednesday that “everybody” was happy with the Tour, outside of Phil Mickelson.

“But when you try to bluff and intimidate players by bulling and threatening them, you are guilty of going too far, being unfair, and you likely are in violation of the law,” Norman wrote. “Simply put, you can’t ban players from playing golf. Players have the right and the freedom to play where we like.”

Norman, the 67-year-old two-time Open Championship winner, also said “many PGA players” remain interested in playing in a new league.

The controversy surrounding the new league exploded over the last week, when Alan Shipnuck, whose Mickelson biography comes out in May, published a story on The Fire Pit Collective in which the six-time major winner acknowledged Saudi Arabia’s “horrible record on human rights” but said he was considering joining the effort “because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates.”

Mickelson, 51, said he wasn’t sure he wanted the Saudi league to succeed but thought it would give players leverage, accusing the PGA Tour of using “manipulative, coercive, strong-arm tactics.”

Greg Norman
Greg Norman
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.

After being slammed by the likes of Rory McIlroy and Billy Horschel for his comments, Mickelson issued an apology for his “reckless” words. His statement said “golf desperately needs change” and included an apology to LIV Golf Investments. He also said he “desperately need[s] some time away.”

Mickelson lost sponsorship deals with KPMG and Amstel Light this week.

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