Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on the eve of LIV Golf’s fifth event in Chicago this week, Norman confirmed that a decision on the venue for an Australian event next year was imminent and that negotiations to tempt Adam Scott from the PGA Tour broke down earlier this year.
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Norman opened up on the business model that attracted Leishman and Smith, the only player inside the top 10 to defect to LIV Golf, – which could see both players running an Australian team which will compete in a global league next year.
“You’ve got to think about it from Cam’s perspective, he completely understood one thing that other people are struggling to understand: the value LIV Golf brings, and that new value is the franchise,” Norman told the publication.
“Cam knows about it, but he’s probably a little too young to understand what Kerry Packer did in cricket. He did what he did for the players, creating teams and night cricket … look where it’s evolved to from there with the IPL. The value of those teams in India is incredible. That’s the new value we bring.
“[Smith] sees the market that Australia presents and the market which, quite honestly, has been starved of high-quality players and new value for the game of golf. The Presidents Cup comes in there once every seven to 10 years, sucks the economy dry and then disappears.”
Of Scott’s reluctance to join the rebel tour, Norman said: “There were discussions early on with Adam and I think right now with Marc and Cam being the principals of Team Australia, I think quite honestly it’s over to them.
“They have to build out the most solid team which gives them the best value going forward. Obviously, they’ll come to us and ask us questions, and there’s so much good young talent coming out of Australia. I can name you four or five of the kids. There are some very good ones and one or two have a connection up into Asia, and that Asian value from a financial standpoint is solid.”
LIV’s first event in Australia is planned for two weeks after the Masters in April next year.
Norman had LIV representatives tour more than 20 courses, with Royal Sydney, the only one to decline the offer for an inspection.
It’s understood a decision on which course would host the event is expected to be made by the end of the month, with Gold Coast and Sydney the leading candidates.
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