LIV Golf chief executive Greg Norman has issued a fierce warning to Rory McIlroy, following the Northern Irishman’s heavy criticism of the Saudi-funded breakaway league.
LIV has found itself engulfed in a battle with the PGA Tour at the top of professional golf since its inception last summer. One of its biggest critics has been McIlroy, who has been used as one of the Tour’s trump cards in the sport’s ongoing civil war.
The four-time major champion has been quick to come down on the mega-money, Saudi-backed series, as well as its boss Norman too.
Late last year, McIlroy called on the Australian to leave his post of LIV CEO in order for the two rivalling tours to settle their differences. He said: “I think Greg needs to go. I think he just needs to exit stage left.
“He’s made his mark but I think now is the right time to sort of say, look, you’ve got this thing off the ground but no one is going to talk unless there’s an adult in the room that can actually try to mend fences. If those two things happen, then things can happen.
“But right now, it’s a stalemate because there can’t be any other way. Hopefully something can happen, who knows.”
Norman has hit back on many occasions, including this week, as LIV kicked off its second season in Mexico at Mayakoba on Friday.
In an interview with Golf.com, the Australian warned the world No. 3 to be careful of what he says in regard to LIV. Norman commented: “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… 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.”
Many – including McIlroy – were quick to write off the Saudi-backed series prior to its inception, with the Northern Irishman initially labelling the idea ‘dead in the water’.
12 months on LIV has kicked off its second campaign, and Norman is only expecting the breakaway tour to grow. “Look, here we are. We had our beta season, and I thought that on a scale of 1 to 10, it was a 9.5, he added.
“And the players coming into 2023 are more excited than they were at the start of 2022. Why? Because this year we unpack our franchise model. We unpack those teams. We unpack this whole new story that has never been done in the game of golf before.”