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Richie Ramsay: A period of readjustment lies ahead for the golfing world following confirmation of Saudi-backed series on Asian Tour

Greg Norman has been named CEO of of LIV Golf Enterprises.
Greg Norman has been named CEO of of LIV Golf Enterprises.

There has been a lot of speculation over the past year about new competitors emerging on the golf scene to challenge the current status quo.

On Friday there was official confirmation that Greg Norman will be the CEO of LIV Golf Enterprises which is committing $200million (£145m) to a 10 tournament series on the Asian Tour from 2022.

The majority shareholder in the company is Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund which recently secured an 80% stake in Newcastle United.

It is a very interesting development.

We are facing a period of readjustment in the golfing world and financial challenges created by the pandemic have sped up this process.

I’m expecting a lot of announcements over the next two years and this could be beneficial for golf.

Any time a new competitor enters a market, the leaders in that field have to shake up their game to stay ahead.

In golfing terms that might be producing a better product that is more appealing to fans.

There has been a lot of discussion about creating a league format with teams and I think that is an idea worth exploring.

We are yet to find out which players are going to play in these events on the Asian Tour but several big names, such as Dustin Johnson, have reportedly been approached.

Johnson is also reported to be among eight players who have asked the PGA Tour for permission to play in next year’s Saudi International.

In the history of sport whenever a new competitor has emerged with significant resources they have tended to not be shy in pursuing their objectives.

LIV Golf Enterprises have committed to staging these events on the Asian Tour for the next decade so it looks like they are here to stay.

Dustin Johnson is among the top players who have reportedly asked the PGA Tour for permission to play in the Saudi International. 

It will be interesting to see how the main tours – with the PGA Tour and European Tour now in a strategic alliance – respond to this development.

I think it is clear that we are getting closer to a world golf tour. What is less clear is who will own it and its format.

At the moment the PGA Tour is the number one place to play golf. By visiting so many different countries across the world, the European Tour offers a completely different environment and something the predominantly US-based PGA Tour doesn’t have.

The best players in the world at present play most of their golf on the PGA Tour but some may be tempted by this new development on the Asian Tour which has been touted as a first step towards a lucrative golf super league.

It feels like a big puzzle and everyone is trying to work out where they are going to be and what impact this could have on the current situation in golf on the PGA and European Tours and beyond.

Norman first put forward the idea of a world tour in the 1990s and it looks like he is going to be part of another push towards that now.

But it will be difficult for a newcomer to challenge the status quo, particularly the PGA Tour. They have great sponsors and prize funds and limited travel which is appealing to most players who may be reticent to trade that in for a new challenge.

The other big question will be the implications any potential new tour has on eligibility for the majors and the Ryder Cup.

Even if there are vast sums of money on offer, players will definitely think twice if it means they can’t play in those events.

There is a lot still to be worked out and the power still seems to rest with the PGA Tour and its strategic alliance partner, the European Tour.

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