LIV Golf CEO and Commissioner Greg Norman stated Tuesday that he has been requested to not attend the QBE Shootout, an occasion he has based and hosted since 1989.
The 54-hole competitors between two-person groups will happen on the Norman-designed Golden Course at Tiburon Golf Membership in Naples, Florida from December 9/11.
“Unfortunately, after 33 consecutive years of playing in and hosting every Shootout – a jointly approved PGA Tour event – since I founded it in 1989, this year I was asked not to attend,” Norman wrote on Instagram. “Why one might ask? Perhaps because I am helping bring a new heart to golf, creating new value and introducing a new product loved by players, fans and broadcasters alike. In doing so, I finally give players their rights as independent contractors to benefit from their performance and their brand.” Within the minds of some folks, that is thought-about very disruptive and improvement is seen as a nasty factor. I don’t agree – competitors breeds excellence.”
QBE Shootout director Rob Hartman said the star has been talking to Norman about his role for months.
“As we approached, the choice was lastly made that he would step again and depart the deal with our monumental charitable companions,” Hartmann told the Naples Daily News. “When this occasion began 34 years in the past, it was all about philanthropy then and all about philanthropy now. Greg simply decided that he did not need something to distract from that.”
In July, R&A decided not to invite two-time winner Norman to the 150th Open Championship celebration in St. Andrews. The R&A Association said it hopes Norman will be able to attend again in the future “when circumstances allow.”
LIV Golf, which is funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, joined a handful of its players as a plaintiff in a federal antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour last month. Prosecutors accused the PGA Tour of improperly suspending golfers for playing at LIV Golf events, and illegally using its monopoly power to crush competition.
“Change is nice,” Norman wrote Tuesday. “Evolution and innovation in an expert golf product has been wanted for many years – simply ask the following era of golf lovers.”
According to Norman, the QBE Shootout competition has raised more than $15 million for charities.
“These charities, their missions, and the financial benefits they receive from their Shootout Championship donations each year are of the utmost importance to me and my family,” Norman wrote. “As such, I’ve determined to not attend this yr’s occasion in order that the main focus stays on errands at hand.”
Norman founded the tournament, then called the RMCC Invitational, at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. It was later renamed Shark Shootout and moved to Naples in 2001.
At the 1994 Shark Shootout, Norman met with PGA Tour players behind closed doors to discuss his concept for a new world tour. The plan featured the top 30 to 40 players competing in eight $3 million events. He reportedly secured a 10-year commitment from Fox to broadcast tournaments via television. The league that Norman proposed did not take off.
At the time, the PGA Tour said in a statement that it would prevent its members from competing in World Tour events “by imposing our tv model and conflicting occasion laws.”
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