Posted: April 24, 2024

Greg Norman on Rory Mcilroy, LIV Adelaide, and the “Best Golf Event that’s Ever Been to Australia”

Courtesy of Matt Cleary & Golf Australia

LIV Adelaide
Norman: “I knew the value of Australia, what Australia can represent to the game of golf and what Australia lacked... the fans spoke in droves last year. They continue to speak this year.”

And so to Adelaide for a movie we’ve seen before – call it ‘LIV Adelaide II: Return to The Grange’ – and we’re straight into a mighty marquee for a Big Cheese Presser, Matt Cleary reports.

On stage is two-time major champion Jon Rahm, Premier of South Australia, Peter Malinauskas, and LIV Golf League CEO, Commissioner and Great White Shark, Greg Norman, looking natty in a cool blue suit.

And the three Big Yins are talking up a storm.

LIV Golf is in Adelaide again following the stellar success of the 2023 tournament when images of party people and plastic cups and Chase Koepka leaping about in a tsunami of beer mist flashed around the world like digital virus.

Malinauskas is obviously keen for the party to showcase the state again while Norman is keen for the LIV bandwagon to roll onwards and upwards. And Rahm, he’s just keen.

“I’m really excited to be here. I’ve seen the golf course a little bit, and I can see why everybody was raving about it,” Rahm says.

“If we don’t get a lot of wind or any rain, which it doesn’t look like it, it can get really firm and fast and make it a really entertaining event. Not only for us but for everybody watching.”

It’s not all degrees of wonderful. But lots is.

Malinauskas is asked about the benefits to South Australia of LIV Adelaide winning ‘World’s Best Golf Event’ at a ‘World’s Best Golf Events’ awards ceremony. (He says it’s good.)

Norman is asked “as an Aussie through and through, how much does it mean to you to bring really the best golf event that’s ever been to Australia and you’ve really spearheaded this initiative?”

You think our Sharky wouldn’t spend a few minutes writhing around in that burley? You would think wrong.

“I knew the value of Australia, what Australia can represent to the game of golf and what Australia lacked… the fans spoke in droves last year. They continue to speak this year,” Norman says.

“To be able to bring the quality of Jon Rahm plus 53 other guys down here for Australians to experience was meaningful for me because when I came down here, it was my mission every year as a player to bring back my skills to show Australia, to grow Australian golf the best way I possibly could.

“But that was with 14 clubs in the bag and what I did on the golf course.”

This time it’s personal. And it’s business. It’s business time.

Today he’s down here as Greg Norman, titan of industry, captain of business, World Man, pumping South Australia’s tyres and delivering bread and circuses and famous Americans to the people, along with all those dear sweet economic metrics.

LIV Adelaide, Norman adds, and he’s right, is “the benchmark for LIV”. All the other LIV destinations should reach out and see what Adelaide did right, he says, adding words to the effect of let’s get together and feel alright.

The microphone is passed around assembled media. Norman fields most of the questions.

No, he didn’t offer Rory McIlroy $800 million to join LIV Golf. But “if Rory was willing to sit down and have a conversation with us, would we be happy to sit down with him? One hundred percent, no different than any other player who would be interested in coming on and playing with us.”

No, he doesn’t know what’s going on with the ‘framework agreement’ between the PGA Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund. And he doesn’t want to know, he says, appearing to mean it.

“I really don’t want to know what’s going on over there because we are so fixated on growing and developing and building out what LIV is today and looking and doing our schedule for 2025 and going into 2026,” Norman says.

“Our responsibility is to look after our people, our players, and where we want to go. I don’t have an answer.”

Norman says he foresees the Adelaide LIV event being the only one in Australia for the next two years and beyond. Even if there has been interest from other states.

“But we were in South Australia first, the Premier took it on, the responsibility of taking on LIV right from the outset, not too sure about the result, and now because he’s done that and because South Australia has done that, we’ve got to look at that into the future, as well, too,” Norman says.

Golf Australia magazine asks Rahm what a perfect schedule would look like for him if the PGA Tour and LIV Golf merged, agreed on a framework, whatever. If he was telling the people making the decisions, what would such as schedule look like?

“I don’t know,” Rahm says. “That hasn’t really presented itself yet, right, so I don’t know.

“Right now, obviously, it’s 14 LIV events that I want to play. So that, and majors, Ryder Cup for sure. And then after that, yeah, there’s some PGA Tour events that if it’s not conflicting with my LIV schedule I’d love to go play.

“I’ve said numerous times and I’ll say it again – Palm Springs, Torrey Pines, Phoenix, LA, if I’m allowed, the Players. Those are events that, if I could, I would love to play.

“I’m no stranger to playing 23, 24 events a year… and I’d still try to go play the Spanish Open and whatever I can in Spain, as well.

“That’s just what I want to do.”

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