Sydney: Australian golf yesterday reaffirmed its “full support” of the US PGA Tour and European Tour in a rebuke to the Saudi-backed LIV series headed by Greg Norman, calling their relationship “stronger than ever”.
The PGA of Australia had been silent since Norman, whose name is lent to Australian golf’s most prestigious annual award, debuted the mega-money LIV Golf Invitational Series in England earlier this month.
But chief executive Gavin Kirkman said he was excited about the future alongside the traditional European and American tours.
“The PGA of Australia is fully supportive of the US PGA Tour and the DP World Tour as they continue to bring the global golf ecosystem together,” he said in a statement to AFP.
“We are in regular contact with both of the tours and following conversations as recent as overnight (Tuesday), we are excited about the future.
“Our working relationship with both tours is stronger than ever as we continue to seek the best outcomes for our players, fans and the sport in our region.”
His comments follow the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour, announcing a 13-year operational joint venture this week, uniting in a tighter alliance to combat the Norman series which has lured away top players with the richest purses in golf history.
It includes a defined path for players to move from the European Tour to the PGA Tour.
As part of sweeping reforms, the PGA Tour will also return to a calendar year season starting in 2024, which Kirkman said was a boon for Australian golf.
“The opportunities presented by the move to a calendar year schedule for the PGA Tour should pave the way for our Australian stars to return home for our major events,” he said.
“And importantly, we have been actively talking to tours about bringing events to Australia.”
Australia’s two marquee events this year – the Australian Open and Australian PGA – are both co-sanctioned with the DP World Tour.
The PGA Tour has also suspended players who joined the rebel series.
Kirkman made no mention of whether the PGA of Australia would follow suit after the defending champions of the Australian Open (Matt Jones) and Australian PGA (Jed Morgan) both played in LIV’s first tournament.
At least in its first season, this league will have eight events across three continents where golfers compete against each other in team and individual formats.
All the LIV Golf events are 54-hole shotgun starts, meaning everyone is on the golf course at the same time, and it’s 18 fewer holes than the PGA Tour.
Another difference is the no-cut policy that LIV Golf has. All of the players in the field will make some money because there is no 36-hole cut after round two.
The long-term plan is to grow this into a Super League in the next few years with 14 events and billions of dollars for golfers to win.
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