Former world primary Greg Norman watched from the sidelines on Thursday as stars together with Phil Mickelson launched a controversial bid to revolutionise golf.
The Australian two-time main winner is the figurehead of the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Invitational Collection, which is difficult the game’s established order.
However it isn’t the primary time the golfer-turned-businessman, 67, has been a disruptor.
In 1994, Norman was on the forefront of plans to ascertain a World Golf Tour that includes the highest gamers, an concept that did not get off the bottom within the face of opposition from the golfing institution.
Now he has returned as a part of a challenge bankrolled by huge Saudi funds.
Forty-eight gamers teed off on the Centurion Membership in St Albans, close to London, with $25 million — the biggest-ever prize purse for a golf event — on provide.
It’s the first of eight tournaments within the inaugural LIV series — with plans to develop over the approaching years.
There was robust pushback from golf’s institution, together with the US PGA Tour, which has threatened gamers with sanctions, and the supply of the funding has proved controversial.
However Norman is bullish, with a rising variety of international stars approaching board, together with six-time main winner Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.
“We have $2 billion backing us,” Norman stated eventually month’s launch occasion. “We have an unbelievable authorized workforce, and we’re nonetheless going to defend the rights of the gamers going ahead.”
Norman believes golfers needs to be free, as unbiased contractors, to play the place they like and shouldn’t be dominated by the established excursions.
The charismatic Australian raises the profile of the LIV sequence however it has not all been plain crusing within the build-up to the launch occasion.
Norman, dubbed the “Nice White Shark”, reduce a dashing determine on programs throughout the globe along with his flowing blond locks, profitable his first skilled occasion in 1976 on the age of 21.
He started competing on the US PGA Tour full-time in 1983, profitable 20 titles, and have become one of the dominant gamers on this planet within the 1980s and 90s.
Norman went on to win 91 skilled tournaments in whole, together with two British Open titles.