Greg Norman says he was asked not to attend the QBE Shootout in December, a PGA Tour-sanctioned event that began in 1989 as the Shark Shootout held at the Tiburon Golf Club he designed.
It was not clear who had asked not to attend the December 9-11 tournament. The tournament director says it was a group decision.
Norman, who is in Washington to meet with members of Congress about the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series, broke the news in an Instagram post late Tuesday afternoon without saying who was behind it.
‘Why might one ask? Perhaps because I help bring a new heart to golf, create new value and introduce a new product loved by players, fans and broadcasters alike.
In doing so, players are finally giving their rights as independent contractors to benefit from their performance and their brand.
‘In the minds of some people this is very devastating and evolution is seen as a bad thing. I do not agree – competition breeds excellence.
Greg Norman says he was asked not to attend the QBE Shootout competition in December
The QBE Shootout was the first unofficial season of the PGA Tour late in the year to raise more than $1 million for childhood cancer, a figure he says now exceeds $15 million. It consists of 12 teams of players that compete in different formats.
Jason Kokrac and Kevin Na are the title holders. They won’t be back this year because the PGA Tour has suspended players who signed with LIV Golf, and the QBE Shootout is a permitted tournament.
While Norman says he was asked not to attend, he later said in an Instagram post that the money raised for charities is the most important to him.
“As such, I have decided not to attend this year’s event so that the focus remains on errands at hand,” he said.
Rob Hartmann, tournament director, told the Naples Daily News that the decision was mutual.
“As we got closer, the decision was finally made that he would step back and leave the focus on our massive philanthropic partners,” Hartmann said.
Jason Kokrak and Kevin Na (above) will not be defending their titles because they are also part of LIV
When this event started 34 years ago, it was all about philanthropy then, and it’s all about philanthropy now. Greg has just made a decision that he doesn’t want anything to distract from that.
The Royal & Ancient Golf Club also asked Norman this summer not to attend celebrations surrounding the 150th British Open in St Andrews due to the distraction caused by LIV Golf, which has paid huge sums to PGA Tour players such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson Deschamps withdrawing to the rival league. .
Golf has been in the headlines for months after the introduction of the controversial Saudi-backed separatist league, which rivals the traditional PGA Tour in the men’s game.
This event is supported by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. This has led to players being criticized for taking part in it due to the kingdom’s poor human rights record, while critics have also called the competition a “washing sport”.
Norman looks during the last round of the QBE Shootout at Tiburon Golf Club last year
Justin Thomas has taken a quick swipe at the defector’s LIV golf while the Rebels continue to push them to make the breakaway tour’s world ranking points available.
On Tuesday, all 48 LIV Golf players signed a letter to the head of the official golf rankings, Peter Dawson, asking the golf rating body to recognize the breakaway series, claiming that their current system is “undermined” and “invalid” without them.
“Every week that passes without the inclusion of LIV athletes undermines the historical value of OWGR,” the letter read.
“We invite you to quickly make a positive decision – in the interest of the integrity of the standings, the game and everyone who loves the sport.”
PGA Tour’s Justin Thomas takes a quick hit on the LIV Golf defectors amid the sport’s ongoing civil war
Thomas, who delivered the message to the media ahead of the 2022 Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow, has typically dismissed the game’s split stars, including Phil Mickelson, Bryson Dechambeau and Sergio Garcia.
“I mean, I don’t understand,” said Thomas, the two-time champion.
It’s very clear and written right there in front of them. They naturally want what’s best for them, just like the decision they made to go there.
I totally understand. Hey, if I was doing the same situation I’d want it, but that doesn’t necessarily make it right.
“The governing bodies created a system for a reason, to try and create the best possible system for identifying the best players in the world.”