LIV Golf in talks about women’s tour, says Greg Norman

Golf’s rebel LIV tour is considering creating a women’s circuit and has approached American and European players who are keen to be involved, chief executive Greg Norman said Thursday.

LIV Golf sparked turmoil in the sport when it launched last year with the backing of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, luring star players away from the men’s US PGA Tour with lucrative contracts.

Norman now has his eye on doing the same with the women.

“That is a discussion we have internally on a regular basis,” he said in Adelaide ahead of the maiden Australian leg of the 54-hole, no-cut tour, which features 48 players in 12 teams.

“I have personally had discussions with individual LPGA Tour players, LET Tour players, Ladies European Tour. They love what our product is showcasing.

“They ask all the time, ‘How can we get involved?’ We’d love to see a LIV ladies series.”

But Norman is also conscious that he first needs to get the men’s version right, with the tour still finding its feet in only its second season.

While the Australia event this week is a sell-out, the circuit has met resistance elsewhere from traditionalists and critics who charge that it is helping Saudi Arabia “sportswash” its human rights record.

“From our perspective, last year was a beta season. We had eight events. This year was our first season where we’re kicking off,” he said.

“We can only drink out of a fire hydrant so much, so we have a lot of opportunities and initiatives coming across our plate.

“Our focus is to make sure this year we produce what we’re producing here from day one, 2023, and then going forward we’re looking what are the best opportunities to build on to what we have today.

“But the answer to the question is yes, we talk about it (women’s version) internally, and I have had discussions with individual lady players, professional players.” (AFP)

McIlroy: Saudi, PGA Tour deal ‘good for golf’

Rory McIlroy on Wednesday welcomed the PGA Tour’s shock merger with the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf but said rebel players who joined the upstart circuit should not be granted an automatic return to the sport.