Derek Lawrence: Greg Norman’s desperate reputation sinks in flames as he struggles to attract credible field for Saudi break-up
- The LIV Golf Invitational at the Centurion Club in St Albans has a first prize of $4 million
- Greg Norman is still struggling to attract credible field to this June event
- The Australian is only looking for 48 names for a three-day tournament
Perhaps in 50 years people will look back on the Saudi involvement in golf as the happy revolution that changed the game forever. Right now it’s changing reputation forever and in nothing but a good way.
As if Phil Mickelson’s Flames weren’t shocking enough, there seems to be a grave danger that Greg Norman is about to join in.
The Australian is the CEO of LIV Golf, the organization that raised so much Saudi money that they thought would be useful to buy the loyalty of leading sporting names. You could say it doesn’t work that way.
Greg Norman (centre) risks his reputation with the golf-backed Saudi ‘Super League’
Seven weeks into the first event, the richest tournament yet to be held on these islands, we’re still waiting for the official announcement of the first “marquee” to appear at the Centurion Club in St. Albans.
What should be the most important ticket in town is still not a ticket at all. A first prize of $4 million? With the DP World Tour arriving in European soil this week for the first time this year, this equals the total prize money offered combined for the two opening events in Spain.
Norman is still struggling to attract a credible field, despite only looking for 48 names for a three-day tournament. No sooner had Bubba Watson’s name appeared in last week’s report than the two-time Masters champion revealed he would play in Canada instead.
Martin Kaymer? He’s the latest character to join the likes of Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter who were supposedly signed to play. The German certainly fits the image of a player who enjoyed a great career but his best days were behind him. He is currently ranked 176 in the world.
Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer have been linked to the lucrative event
Norman did a series of interviews last week and they all happened to be a little desperate. As someone fortunate enough to be interviewed on a number of occasions over the years and have always enjoyed his company, it was hard to believe that he was the same guy.
“We respect the Masters and thought we’d let it go off before our ads,” he said. Seriously, Greg? How good are you? There was more, including the most horrific trash alleging a plot involving a PGA Tour and golf writer to do as much damage as possible to the Saudi project.
“I hope a kid who ranks 350th in the world wins this event and changes his life,” Norman told The Telegraph. Does he think he’ll have to go to 350 to fill a 48-man field for Britain’s richest ever event?
He also says that he “can handle the blows”. Whether or not his reputation could take them was a different matter entirely.
Spieth is just a hot racket of Grand Slam delight
After Rory McIlroy’s best attempt yet at becoming the second player since 1966 to achieve a career Grand Slam, it will be Jordan Spieth’s turn to try to complete the group at the US PGA Championship next month.
Judging by his extraordinary victory at the RBC Heritage event in Hilton Head, South Carolina, on Sunday, he’s probably going to be eventful.
Much of the old adage about driving is for show and readiness. “I won without a racket,” Speth stated, and wasn’t much wrong.
Jordan Spieth celebrates his RBC Legacy win with wife Annie Ferrett and son Sammy
After missing a mat player in the 18th round of the third round, he missed two more inside 5-footers on Sunday to finish 60th in the potting stats, yet he ended up winning after defeating Patrick Cantlay in a playoff match. You have to go back to 2009 to find a winner in a PGA Tour event with such a bad situation.
Like McIlroy, Spieth hasn’t won a major since making his Slam debut after adding the Open in 2017 to his Masters and US Open victories in 2015.
The long stagnation coincided with Brooks Koepka replacing him as America’s golden boy when he quickly won four majors. Spieth lost in a thrilling Open Championship duel last year to Colin Morikawa and is now not the number one in Texas after the remarkable lead of new Masters champion Scotty Scheffler.
However, one surefire way to become a leading stud again is to complete the feat that Tiger Woods has only managed in the last 56 years. Spieth’s confidence must have gone up significantly on Sunday, given that he won his three majors by putting on better than anyone else. If he can beat a tough field during a week off with his best club, what harm can he do with his usual show-off.