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Golf icon Tiger Woods turned down at least $700 million from the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series, which had sought his “needle-mover” name, the head of that league said Monday.
In a taped interview that aired on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” the host asked LIV CEO Greg Norman if his tour had offered Woods between $700 million and $800 million to play.
“And, look, Tiger is a needle-mover right? So of course you have to look at the best of the best,” Norman told Carlson.
“So they had originally approached Tiger before I became CEO. So, yes, that number was somewhere in that neighborhood.”
Critics of LIV consider the tour to be tool of the Saudi government, which is allegedly seeking to distract attention from Riyadh’s human rights record and potential links to 9/11 plotters.
The PGA has banned players who have signed on with LIV.
“It’s a monopoly (PGA) they just want to shut us down whatever way they can,” Norman said. “So they’ll use whatever leverage point they can to shut us down and they’re not. They’re not going to shut us down.”
The 67-year-old Norman was one of the greats of his era, winning the 1986 Open Championship before repeating the feat in 1993. He finished in the top 10 at 30 majors.
Norman defended his tour and blasted sponsors who have dropped LIV golfers, saying many of those very same companies also do business with Saudi Arabia.
“Tucker, that blows my mind and sponsors, by the way, who spend billions of dollars in Saudi Arabia,” said Norman, who did not list any of the companies he accused of hypocrisy.
Woods’ agent and PGA representatives could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday.
Henrik Stenson won the LIV Golf Invitational at Bedminster on Sunday, earning a $4 million prize at the New Jersey club owned by former President Donald Trump who was a presence at the tournament.
“He loves it,” Norman said of Trump. “And this week, he’s just been in the background but in the foreground, if you know what I mean.”
“He’s been fantastic this week. He’s not putting himself out in front of LIV. He’s embraced it. He’s walked to the first tee. He allows LIV to breathe, which I think is fantastic.”