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TEE TO GREEN, STEVE SCOTT: Greg Norman’s Saudi-backed tour needs player commitments soon or it’ll be a laughing stock

Greg Norman's LIV Group has yet to get a commitment from any player.

One of Greg Norman’s many business interests is beef.

He’s long owned some high-stock cattle producing the high quality Greg Norman signature Australia Wagyu steaks and burgers. The cheapest steaks are a couple of 8 ounce sirloins coming in at $65 (£50). Nice.

The cattle are one of the many successful businesses – clothing, real estate, golf development, wine, wakeboarding (whatever that is) – Norman has put on the backburner to front the Saudi-backed LIV group.

Three weeks after the Great White Shark’s grand announcement (minus any critical voices) of the plan to shake up the world of golf, the rest of the game is entitled to ask “where’s the beef?”

No players have publicly committed to Norman’s group

Phil Mickelson is thought to be sympathetic to LIV, but has not committed.

The beef in this scenario is players, name players. And as we stand, there isn’t a single player who has publicly committed to the GWS’s brave new world.

It’s assumed that Jason Kokrak, a winner this weekend on the PGA Tour and sponsored by the Saudis, will be one. It’s known that Phil Mickelson is sympathetic, if not yet actually committed.

And er, that’s it. Excited yet?

The point is this group – I won’t call them the “disruptors” like some over-loyal outlets – has been given such a fanfare that to be even part-way successful it absolutely needs these names. A lot of them, and soon, or it’s going to become a joke pretty quickly.

You’re not going to overturn the foundations of world golf with an Asian Tour field – which is really all they’ve got at the moment.

How many does it need? Certainly many more than Mickelson and Kokrak. I’d say it needs 40 defectors, at least 15 of them in the top 50 of the world, to make even a dent.

Is there any prospect of this? The low-hanging fruit for Norman and LIV are elite players maybe reaching the end of their shelf life, and was the membership of the European Tour.

The DP World deal took away the incentive to defect

At least until last week. It was illuminating to see how many players lined up to give the DPWorld Tour deal their approval – Rahm, McIlroy, Morikawa, Reed, Westwood, Lowry, Hovland, Casey, Fleetwood, Fitzpatrick, Hatton, McDowell.

This deal, and PGA Tour announcements of late (enhancing prizefunds and proposing a series of events with guaranteed money) has definitely diminished the main (only?) attraction of defecting – more cash.

Some of these players – notably Fleetwood, Westwood and McDowell – have also asked to go to the Saudi Invitational next February. They may be blocked from playing by the established tours.

Ultimately, I see there being a compromise – the players can go to Saudi if they really want, or to complete the contracts they have to continue playing there. But I certainly don’t see that one event being a catalyst for mass defection to Norman and LIV.

They’ve presented themselves as revolutionary gamechangers. If just retaining a few names at an early season event the golf world already pays scant attention to the best they can do, then their grand plan is dead in the water.

More guaranteed money events mess with golf’s meritocracy

The PGA Tour’s reported plan to produce a series of guaranteed money events starting in 2023 is an old trick.

They seem to be at least part-stealing the PGL/SGL team idea. In T2G’s past we’ve long predicted they’d do this, just as they did when starting the WGC events after Norman proposed his World Tour in the 1990s.

But anyway, I think the idea stinks. Unfortunately the drive toward more events of this sort with guaranteed money appeals to the current swathe of top players. They want to earn as much as possible for as long as possible, regardless of whether their play deserves it.

Golf’s meritocracy makes it different. There’s no sticking around to finish your contract. If your form goes, sometimes you’re gone for good. There is a turnover of talent based on performance, and it’s a natural – if sometimes cruel – progression.

Distinguished greats of the past – Hogan, Nicklaus, Palmer, Player, Faldo, Ballesteros, yes even Greg Norman – had their time. They eventually gave it up to the next generation.

I find the entitlement of modern elite professionals a little tough to bear at times. I find this attitude that they get guaranteed money at the expense of developing talent utterly objectionable.

Team Double D back for 2022

We were perhaps a tad premature at T2G last week in declaring Team Double D safe for the 2022 DP World Tour. In the end David Drysdale and wife/caddie/manager/inspiration Vicky, made it right on the cut mark.

Veterans of T2G will know my great admiration of Team DD. Also, that they have long earned any good fortune accruing from the weekend. Many years ago, David lost his card by less than €500. He also once missed a putt at the final hole of Q School to miss a card by a stroke.

And to re-iterate last week’s point, all 10 of the Scots on Tour retained their playing rights. Here’s to our three DP World Championship qualifiers – Robert MacIntyre, Calum Hill and Grant Forrest – earning some more reward this week.

And to our 12 on tour in 2022 getting a handsome share of the new largesse available.

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