Golfing icon Tiger Woods has turned down at least $700 million from the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series seeking his name as a “needle mover”, the league chief said on Monday.
In a taped interview that aired on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Carlson asked LIV CEO Greg Norman if his tour had offered Woods $700-800 million to perform.
“And, look, Tiger is a needle mover, isn’t he? So of course you have to watch the best of the best,” Norman told Carlson.
“So they originally approached Tiger before I became CEO. So, yeah, that number was somewhere in that neighborhood.
Critics view LIV as a tool of the Saudi government, accusing it of seeking to distract from Riyadh’s human rights record and potential links to 9/11 plotters.
The PGA has banned players who have signed with LIV.
“It’s a monopoly. They just want to shut us down any way they can,” Norman said, referring to the PGA. “So they will use everything they can to shut us down, and they don’t. They’re not going to shut us down.”
Norman, 67, was one of the greatest of his era, winning the 1986 Open Championship before repeating the feat in 1993. He finished in the top 10 at 30 majors.
Norman has defended his tour and lambasted sponsors who have let down LIV golfers, saying many of those companies also do business with Saudi Arabia.
“Tucker, that takes my breath away, and the 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 immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Henrik Stenson won the LIV Golf Invitational in Bedminster on Sunday, taking home a $4 million prize from the New Jersey club owned by former President Donald Trump, which was in attendance 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 pushing LIV. He’s embraced it. He’s walked to the first tee. He’s allowed LIV to breathe, which I think is fantastic.”