Norman says extra $2bn available for Saudi breakaway series
Greg Norman said Tuesday he has been given an extra $2billion (£1.6 billion) in funding from Saudi Arabia to build his breakaway LIV series of 54-hole events into a full league by 2024.
Norman revealed last week that the league had been ready to launch in February until incendiary remarks by six-time major winner Phil Mickelson regarding the Saudi regime caused some players to back out.
Australia golf great Norman, a two-time British Open champion, is the chief executive of LIV Golf, a potential rival to the established US PGA and DP World (formerly the European) tours.
The first of LIV Golf's eight 48-man events in 2022, each with a prize fund of $25 million (£20.2 million), will be staged at the Centurion Club in Hertfordshire, north of London, from June 9-11.
A further 10 tournaments are envisaged in 2023, expanding to 14 in 2024, with the 67-year-old Norman saying his vision extends "decades" into the future.
"We've just got approval to launch our schedule into 2023, 24 and 25," Norman told the BBC. "We're looking way beyond that too. We are looking at decades.
"We've got $2billion to back that up so we have additional funds in place. Twenty-two and 23 are our baiter years.
"Of course we have had to pivot because there have been some obstacles thrown in our way with a couple of the institutions -- the PGA Tour and DP World Tour - but we have pivoted brilliantly."
Mickelson and Lee Westwood are among the players known to have asked for releases from the PGA Tour and DP World Tour to play at Centurion, with major champions Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer also expected to take part in the inaugural event.
"We have 19 of the top 100 players committed to Centurion," said Norman, who added the tournament would be streamed live on YouTube.
"We have five of the top 50, a success rate that a lot of people didn't think we'd be able to achieve."
Former world number one Mickelson, 51, triggered uproar in February following publication of his remarks made last year to author Alan Shipnuck concerning the new venture.
Reigning US PGA champion Mickelson said the Saudi backers of LIV Golf were "scary" with a "horrible record on human rights".
But the American added he was willing to deal with them in order to gain leverage to "reshape" the US PGA Tour.
Doubts remain over whether Mickelson will defend his US PGA title at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma, next week.
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