It’s performance review season in corporate America, when employees are either congratulated for tasks well done or held accountable for shortcomings. If Greg Norman was disposed toward self-reflection (stay with me), he might be relieved that his Saudi-backed organization doesn’t hold such traditional standards on performance, or for that matter commercial viability, ROI or ethics. .
Norman was announced as CEO of LIV Golf in October and has since distinguished himself with every public utterance he has made, cementing a reputation that includes not only his inability to finish major tournaments but Will also include their inability to start. The wash-up in what was promised as a seismic jolt of global golf is looking like a bonus for even-rans. Consider what Norman has presided over since Saudi’s ambitions in golf came to mind and you’ll find that all seems to be holding back.
He avoided those 12-18 incidents? Not happening
league format? Same.
An elite team concept? No.
Best golfer in the world? Let’s hear it for Robert Garrigas.
A fresh, eye-catching product for fans? See above.
More: The first player of the PGA Tour sought permission to play the Saudi tournament
What’s left are eight fascinating tournaments that will showcase aging veterans who can no longer compete where it matters, career travellers whose own caddies may struggle to recognize them in the line-up, and amateurs, whose inclusion was presented as “growing the game”. It is a gesture rather than an act of desperation. (Next stop: PGA Tour Champions!) In short, Norman is serving up a fetid platter of horseshoes and claiming it’s Boeuf Bourguignon.
The only entertainment guaranteed in this venture is an overdue arrival for Great White Pilot Fish, whose stint began with an interview in which he saw women dining at Saudi restaurants. Without burqa later, he addressed the murder of Washington Post Journalist Jamal Khashoggi. “What happened to Khashoggi was condemnable. There is no man on this planet who would not agree with me,” he said, perhaps forgetting that the Crown Prince who ordered Khashoggi’s bones to be cut – the same man who pays Norman – might not agree with him. That he followed up this declaration with “But…” is damning enough, as it is not necessary to describe the chicken-hearted prejudices duly offered by him.
Norman has also shown the familiar malign touch with Augusta National which defined his playing career there. “We respect the Masters and we thought we’d kick it off before our announcements,” he said last week.
“…we thought we’d let it go…”
Oh, for being Fred Ridley’s attentive servant when he read over his morning coffee.
Norman’s latest performance Pratfall is fueling claims that he could make a swansong appearance at the 150th Open Championships in St Andrews in July not as a formal figure but as a competitor. There’s a better chance we’ll see Old Tom Morris do it for the sake of old times.
The R&A exempts the defending champion from the Open until the age of 60. Norman is 67 years old, hasn’t played a major in 13 years or any serious tournament in a decade. He reportedly admitted that he would not enter qualifying, but would instead ask for a special invitation, which is at least in keeping with his current belief that “elite” areas are full of antiquarians. The R&A’s response drew the swoon of a spokesperson, who was irritated by the narcissistic delusions of a serial social media flasher interrupting her weekend: “The admission terms and conditions for the Open stipulate that A champion must be 60 or younger. Or have won a championship in the last 10 years to be exempt from qualifying. The same is the case for the 150th Open and we have no plans for any additional exemptions.”
Norman’s disregard for established rules and norms may have endeared him to his employers, but even the Saudis now love his water carrier’s thirst for publicity, his obstinate and ill-considered public comments, his The lack of peripheral vision, in must be tired of its unpopularity. His astonishing ability to snatch locker rooms and defeat when victory seemed not only possible but probable. Norman’s temperament was often a liability on the closing clauses of large companies, but his bosses would know it was a load before they got the ball in the air.
Petulance underlies Norman’s St. Andrews fantasy. Golf’s governing body is closing ranks against its Saudi “sportswashing” effort – and behind the PGA and DP World Tour – in a way that is subtle but unmistakable. The R&A had previously offered the Asian Tour’s leading money winner a spot at the Open, but stopped doing so when the Saudis recently bought into that circuit. Augusta National invited all former major champions to the Masters as a courtesy, but somehow lost Norman’s address in 2022. Players being served by the Saudis will have noticed this chill, and only those in the know can’t factor into the tournament. to dust.
Despite all the fuss and promises of riches, the Saudis must eventually understand that their project is driven by a man who is more inflated with hot air than the Hindenburg, and seems destined for the same fate. He even tries to caress the passengers who are on board unnecessarily. Someone with a larger-than-life bust of themselves in their garden is clearly immune to embarrassment. The people who entrusted them with their billion-dollar business, not so much.