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Stephen Gallacher: Golf’s new kid on the block has come out swinging against European and PGA Tours

Greg Norman is the face of Liv Golf Investments
Greg Norman is the face of Liv Golf Investments

It feels as if a line is being drawn pitting Greg Norman and his new golf league against the rest of the world.

The Great White Shark has been named as the commissioner of Liv Golf Investments, which is funded by the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia.

The new organisation is not dipping its toe in the water either – it is intent on making a big splash on a global level by investing almost £150million into the Asian Tour.

The initiative will result in 10 tournaments being added to the tour for the next decade.

Norman is the public face of this new venture but I’ve yet to hear of any players committing themselves to playing in these new events.

The likes of Dustin Johnson have been mentioned as potential targets but I’d be surprised if any of the leading players would either be willing to join up at this stage or indeed be given permission by their respective tour.

It is hard to shake the belief this is the first strike in a concerted effort to muscle in on the European Tour and PGA Tour.

We’ve been established for decades, have our own ranking systems in place and even before our partnership we’ve worked together for the good of the game.

Our tours joined forced in a strategic alliance last year to help each other should the long-mentioned threat of a rival golf tour ever come to fruition.

Well, here we are, Saudi Arabia versus the rest of the world – and that is before you add in the Premier Golf League, another enterprise which has been bubbling away in the background for years.

Is it going too far to say this is a takeover of the Asian Tour? Maybe but it certainly looks like one on the face of it and it does appear Liv Golf Investments views this as an opportunity to become a player in the game.

They will be thrilled to have found a seat at the golfing table but there is still a long road ahead form.

I’m sure all the players and officials will be keeping a keen eye on how this unfolds but I think the new kid on the block is going to have a hard time convincing anyone to base themselves on the Asian Tour permanently.

If anyone is lured away to the Asian Tour I hope this can all be settled amicably.

The last thing we need is division in the game being sown or this becoming a contentious issue where lawsuits and legal strife become the norm.

We want to see golf on the back pages, not on the front.

 

Early plans being made for 2022

It is that time of year where thoughts invariably turn towards the new season and I’m hopeful we may see some normality on the European Tour next year.

I’m in Portugal this week for my penultimate week of the season but I’m putting plans in place for the turn of the year.

The last couple of years have been a bit weird to say the least but I’m optimistic better times lie ahead so I’m looking to get myself in decent shape by doing some fitness work before I get back out there.

There are five tournaments in the Middle East looming from mid-January and I’m delighted to hear the Hero Indian Open will go ahead in February.

It has been a long wait for the chance to defend the title I won in 2019 when the tournament last took place.

Ban on green-reading books is a sensible move

Justin Rose lines up his putt  during the first round of The Open.

It looks as if green-reading books are going to be banned on the PGA Tour after a memo was leaked.

The regulation is reportedly being worked on by the USGA and the R&A with a presentation to the PGA Tour advisory board scheduled for next week.

Should the ban come into force it will take effect on January 1.

It has been on the cards for a while and I can see why.

Having a green-reading book, a guide to the green you are playing on, takes away the element of skill and makes life a little easier.

It is supposed to be the player against the course with the golfer needing to use all their experience, their eye, and their judgement. A helping hand simplifies the process.

Judging the line and your approach is part of the game. That is why I can see this rule change coming into effect.

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