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Liv Golf is primed to announce that it is heeding the advice of the R&A and will take the Saudi-funded circuit to eight countries in its first season as a league next year.
Martin Slumbers, the R&A chief executive, has recently made no secret of his disdain for Greg Norman’s enterprise, declaring at last month’s Open Championship that it was “harming the perception of golf” and making a thinly-veiled threat to make it more difficult for the rebels to qualify for the British major.
However, Norman, the Liv chief executive, has claimed this is an about-turn to Slumbers’ reaction when he was first shown the schedule last year.
“It was before I had signed up, but the guys who were involved in a meeting with Martin earlier in 2021 say they showed him the plans for a 14-event league and asked for his thoughts,” Norman told Telegraph Sport.
“There were 10 events in the US and four in other countries. All he said was that he would make it seven and seven. Apparently, he didn’t state any opposition then. So what’s changed?”
Liv is now ready to act on Slumbers’ guidance and play half of the £335 million, 48-man, 12-team league in the States, with the rest hosted in different countries. This is believed to include venues in Australia, Spain, Mexico and Singapore, as well as England, Thailand and, naturally, Saudi Arabia, with the last three nations staging £20 million Liv events this year. Ireland is also being considered, as Norman seeks to present Liv as a genuinely global tour.
However, pressure is being put on potential venues, with reports the R&A has warned Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore it would be “shunned by the rest of the golf world” if it became a Liv course. The R&A has declined to comment. In the anti-trust court action taken by 11 Liv players against the PGA Tour, it is being claimed that at the Masters in April, Augusta National officials “threatened to dis-invite players from the Masters if they joined Liv Golf”.
Six of the past 12 Masters champions have signed up with the series.