LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman has revealed that Tiger Woods turned down an offer “somewhere in the neighbourhood” of $700 million to $800m to join the breakaway tour.
During an appearance on Fox News that aired on Monday night, Norman confirmed what he told the Washington Post in a story two months ago, that the offer was “mind-blowingly enormous; we’re talking about high nine digits.”
The 46-year-old Woods, a 15-time major champion, has been opposed to LIV Golf since late last year, and he delivered his strongest comments at the Open Championship last month when he said players who joined the series had “turned their back” on the PGA Tour that made them famous.
“That number was out there before I became CEO. So that number has been out there, yes,” Norman said in the Fox News interview, which took place on Sunday at Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the third LIV Golf Invitational was held.
“And, look, Tiger is a needle-mover and of course you have to look at the best of the best,” Norman said. “So they had originally approached Tiger before I became CEO. So, yes, that number was somewhere in that neighbourhood.”
Various reports out of the UK have said Phil Mickelson received a $200m signing bonus, while Dustin Johnson received $150m. The 48-man fields, which play 54 holes with no cut, offer $25m in prize money at each event. Norman announced a 14-tournament schedule for next year.
LIV Golf currently has only one player – Johnson at No 18 – ranked in the top 20 in the world.
Asked why his rival tour has caused such an uproar among American golf fans, Norman said: “I don’t know, I really don’t care. I just love the game so much and I want to grow the game of golf and we at LIV see that opportunity not just for the men but for the women.”
The LIV Golf Invitational is off for a month during the FedEx Cup playoffs on the PGA Tour, returning over Labour Day weekend about an hour west of Boston, and then two weeks later plays in the Chicago suburbs.
Henrik Stenson, who was stripped of the Ryder Cup captaincy over his decision to join LIV Golf, won the third event on his debut. That followed Charl Schwartzel's victory at the inaugural event in London and Brendan Grace taking the title at the second tournament in Portland.