LIV boss Greg Norman has conceded his new tour has to add depth to its roster to further enhance the product but is adamant there’s a long list of players ready to join including names that would “surprise” some people.
Norman has arrived in Australia for the LIV event in Adelaide with six of the world’s top 50 players, including world No.6 Cameron Smith, a number impacted by the ongoing battle for his fledgling tour to receive world ranking points.
Masters runner-up Brooks Koepka got zero points for his win at the LIV event in Orlando but rose 79 places to number 39 after his Augusta efforts, with fellow runner-up Phil Mickelson moving 72 and Patrick Reed, who came fourth, 45.
Norman is adamant the current world rankings system will be “obsolete” before too long and the quality of LIV players, including two-time major champion Dustin Johnson, will be properly recognised.
But the Australian legend also knows he needs to boost the bottom end of talent with the likes of Sihwan Kim coming last in all three events this season. He was 28 shots off the lead in Orlando and 27 in Tucson.
“It’s an ongoing process. We’ve got a long list of players who want to come in. We just don’t have the ability today because players are under contract,” Norman told the NCA NewsWire.
“But we’ll get to a position where there will be a relegation series and places will start opening up.
“It’s incredible the amount of players who want to come on board. It would surprise you how good those names are.”
The potential for more big names moves is another shot across the bow of the US PGA Tour who Norman said “opened Pandora’s box” in 2022 when they decided to ban any players who joined LIV.
Norman said the creation of LIV was never about starting an “us or them” war, but just offering another opportunity for players and he remained hopeful the two tours could come together to end the hostility.
“It was never that way. It never had to be one or the other,” he said.
“The PGA Tour made it that way. The PGA Tour opened up Pandora‘s box by threatening players with lifetime bans
“Somebody came in and offered competition to (the PGA Tour) they didn’t like it. But it’s not going to stay this way forever, because we’re not going anywhere.
“So somewhere down the line in some way, shape or form, the two parties have gotta come to the table.
“It’s product versus product and we’re proud of our product, and our product’s not gonna go anywhere.”
Norman said he had to have an “incredibly thick skin” over the past 12 months because even though he was ready for blowback when his Saudi-funded tour lured several stars, he didn’t expect the level of vitriol he received.
But he said it made his LIV experience at events so fars, and a sell-out at this week’s tournament at The Grange in Adelaide, that much more special.
“I knew it going in. I didn’t expect it that degree to be honest with you. And I look forward to the day when you know, hopefully everybody’s got to eat crow,” he said.
“I just know our model is here to stay. It’s not a vindictive attitude or approach or anything like that. It’s my desire to do what is right for the game of golf and what is right for the players, and what is right for the fans that are out here.”
LIV PLAYERS WORLD RANKINGS (top 100)
6 – Cameron Smith
24 – Joaquin Niemann
35 – Abraham Ancer
39 – Brooks Koepka
43 – Thomas Pieters
45 – Patrick Reed
54 – Mito Pereira
56 – Taylor Gooch
59 – Harold Varner III
70- Dustin Johnson
72 – Phil Mickelson
82 – Dean Burmester
90 – Cameron Tringale
93 – Jason Kokrak