Tiger Woods turned down an offer that Greg Norman said was “somewhere around” from $700 million to $800 million to participate in the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series.
During a Fox News appearance with Tucker Carlson that aired Monday night, Norman confirmed what he told the Washington Post in a story two months ago. Norman told the Post in June that the offer was “stunningly huge; we are talking high nine figures.”
Woods has been up against LIV Golf since late last year, and he gave his strongest commentary at the British Open when he said players who had “turned their backs” on the PGA Tour on the money funded by the Saudi Arabian state fund.
It was not clear when an offer was made to Woods.
“That number was already there before I became CEO. So that number has been there, yes,” Norman said in the Fox News interview, which took place 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 for the best of the best,” Norman said. “So they first approached Tiger before I became CEO. So yeah, that number was somewhere around that.”
Several reports from the UK have said that Phil Mickelson received a $200 million signing bonus while Dustin Johnson received $150 million. The 48-man fields, which play 54 holes without a cut, offer $25 million in prize money at each event. Norman announced a schedule of 14 tournaments for next year.
LIV Golf currently has only one player — Johnson at number 18 — from the top 20 in the world.
The source of the funding has drawn sharp criticism of the series and the players who signed up, as it is seen as an attempt to divert attention from the human rights record and links to the September 11 terrorist attacks.
When asked why his rival tour has caused such a stir among American golf fans, Norman replied plainly, “I don’t know.”
“I really don’t care,” Norman said. “I just love the game so much and I want to grow the game of golf and at LIV we see that opportunity not only for the men, but also for the women.”
The LIV Golf Invitational is off for a month during the FedEx Cup playoffs on the PGA Tour, returns on Labor Day weekend about an hour west of Boston, then plays in suburban Chicago two weeks later.
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