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Greg Norman responds to critics, interview, Kerry Packer

If Greg Norman cared what people thought, he wouldn’t have agreed to officiate one of the most controversial events in world sport this century.

Maybe at one point he thought – a time when the numbers suggested he was the best player in the world, but the four weekends of the year did nothing.

But for more than four decades, Norman has withstood a lot of criticism, and has been the source of many jokes in the US for thinking of himself as the opinion of others.

It’s only a good thing for the LIV golf boss, because there was a lot of heat for him.

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“Look, I’m not paying attention,” Norman said. In an exclusive interview last week.

“Hate, jealousy, revenge – whatever – whatever reason people have against you – they don’t know who I am. These individuals have never sat down and talked to me for a minute.

“So they have their opinion and I give them the right to have their opinion. But at the same time I push them aside.

“I’ve seen them all. Some of the people who comment negatively on me are 45 years old.

There is a lot of heat for LIV Golf boss Greg Norman.
There is a lot of heat for LIV Golf boss Greg Norman.Source: Getty Images

Norman is well aware of the significant progress LIV Golf has made in recent months.

In February, a diversity tour – sponsored by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund – appeared dead on the horizon as signatories were barred from joining the wave.

Today, LIV Golf’s roster includes multiple major winners in Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka, as well as now-deposed European Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson.

If reports are accurate, it could include soon-to-be World No. 2 and Golfer of the Year Cameron Smith.

Next year, LIV Golf plans to expand significantly from an eight-event invitational to a 14-event international league, with a few tournaments added in partnership with the Asian Tour.

Meanwhile, PGA Tour players parachuted into Tiger Woods last week to rally the troops and strategize at LIV Golf.

He may be playing with house money, but there’s no denying that Norman has taken LIV Golf further than anyone thought possible in six months – except himself.

When asked when he found out that LIV Golf was going to take off, he said: “I signed my contract on August 30 last year.

When I test the business model as best I can with people I know in the economics and law, franchising and branding industries, no one can break the model.

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However, for all his arrogance and defiance, Norman doesn’t feel like he’s driving alone.

If there’s one person whose ideas matter most to Norman, it’s former Australian media mogul Kerry Packer.

and Norman in He is already certain that his former friend, who died in 2005, has his approval.

“I can tell you this every day, with my hand on my heart, I know every day that Kerry Packer is my late friend with his hand on my right shoulder — God rest his soul — ‘Greg, you’re on the right path. Stay the course. You’re doing the right thing for the sport, the players and the fans.’

Norman and Packer became close friends in the 1980s when the golfer set his sights on the business world and started a company under his own name.

Packer, on the other hand, is a talented golfer who first topped world No. 1 Norman in 1986 and won his first Claret Jug that year.

Together, Norman and Packer won the 1992 Pebble Beach Pro-Am with a then-record 42-under par. He later designed Norman Packer’s own private golf course at Ellerston, which regularly ranks among the best – and most important – in Australia.

Away from the course, Norman would sit with Packer until the wee hours of the morning, talking about golf and business – two that aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.

Kerry Packer with Norman at the 1998 Holden International at The Australian Golf Club.Source: News Corp Australia

With his millions, Pacer changed the game of cricket in the 1970s, realizing its true commercial value and potential in the age of color television.

At the time, cricket was only played in a five-day Test format, with Australia’s matches televised in black and white on ABC, while the players earned little money.

After initially failing to take the cricket TV rights from ABC to the Nine Network, Pacer reinvented his own competition, calling it World Series Cricket.

The players wore colorful clothes, matches went into the night, but the series was won in the rarely used limited overs format.

Crucially, players were well paid. Leading international captains such as Tony Greig, Clive Lloyd and Greg Chappell have all joined.

Cricket promoters were up in arms, regarding the WSC’s radical new ways as a disgrace to their beloved game.

However, after two seasons, the facility caved. Packer won the rights to Cricket TV, and ultimately changed the game forever.

Unsurprisingly, Norman sees similarities in his current mission.

Packer with West Indian cricketer Clive Lloyd at a party for the 1978 World Series of Cricket.Source: News Limited

Norman has long been fueled by Packer and WSC that the golfers’ recruiting power has weakened, as has been the case with cricket.

In the year In 1994, Norman pushed for the World Golf Tour, with eight lucrative events for the game’s top 40 players held around the world. The idea has been brutally undermined by the PGA Tour.

Fast forward nearly 30 years, and Norman finds himself meeting with a wealthy investor to bring his Packer-inspired vision to life.

Today, he considers Packer one of the two “North Stars” in his business career.

“Remember, I grew up in that era. I was a good friend of Kerry Packer. I designed a golf course with Kerry Packer,” Norman said.

“We would talk golf, golf, golf from midnight to 3 in the morning because he was a sponge for knowing where golf was going and how to get there.

“I had this huge, powerful man in Australia who had such a powerful vision for what he did for cricket. When you engage in that… obviously it stays with you. Because you have heard it, it is deeply rooted in you. Because you are sitting on the couch with him. They drank diet coke with him and just talked about golf and golf opportunities.

It’s no different than what we do with LIV today. At LIV we look at all sports outside of golf and the opportunities that Kerry have had in cricket and what we can do for golf here.

Cameron Smith has been heavily linked with joining LIV Golf.Source: AFP

It is important to note here that the nature of the controversy surrounding WSC and the current controversy surrounding LIV Golf are very different.

Packer was a tough guy in the business world and as such was much mocked by the public. However, the closest the fortune came to being associated with human rights issues was when it recruited South African apartheid players.

The government of Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has a terrible human rights record that includes beheading of women, suppression of freedom of speech and discrimination.

Its growing involvement in world sport – such as organizing F1 races, buying Newcastle United in the Premier League or funding LIV Golf – is seen by many as ‘sport washing’.

However, Norman says his business mindset is to grow the game of golf globally by targeting gaps in the market.

His other “north star” is former Augusta National head Billy Payne, who aims to enter the Asian market with a series of Masters initiatives.

Today, LIV Golf is doing the same with an international series of funding of $300 million (A435m) for the Asian Tour.

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Norman said he is open to sitting at the table with both the US PGA and DP World Tours to discuss the future of golf.

Any meeting of the minds appears unlikely anytime soon, however, with the PGA Tour instead focusing on ways to combat LIV Golf with purses and its own global swing.

Any outcome is good for Norman, who says he has great faith in LIV’s golf business model.

“So when people give me shit and shoot me doing whatever they want, happy days, mate,” Norman said.

Go away because you don’t know what you’re talking about.

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