Greg Norman, she wrote, has competed on the PGA Tour before, and does so this time under “an empty promise.”
LIV Golf, she wrote, is “exhibition golf that has no soul” and is destroying the sport.
The LPGA, she wrote, shouldn’t just not meet LIV, they shouldn’t even “consider” her.
In an 837-word post on her website titled “My Take on LIV,” Dottie Pepper, in fact, spoke out on the subject.
You’ve seen and heard others do it since the controversial Saudi-backed series began playing in June, although Pepper’s position in the game gives him a remarkable view. A two-time major champion and 17-time LPGA overall winner, she is also a longtime analyst of men’s golf, having worked the past six years for CBS. And Pepper’s comments touched both sides of the game.
She started with Norman, the CEO of LIV Golf, and encouraged those reading her post to also go back and read a 1994 Washington Post column by Thomas Boswell titled “Norman Golfing for Greed in Plans for World Tour”. . This piece was critical of Norman’s plans for the World Golf Tour, which wanted to feature 40 players, play eight events and offer large, guaranteed paydays, but he died before it started.
LIV Golf has 48-man courses and this year is playing eight uncut events; next year, 14 tournaments are scheduled.
“You’ll see this isn’t the first time Greg Norman has offered a rival tour that would strip the world’s best players of their home tours, pay huge guarantees and provide uncut events, all while turning their backs on the PGA Tour, its people and its sponsors… the very foundation that made him an international superstar,” Pepper wrote.
“Sound familiar? Almost 30 years have passed and the story hasn’t changed. This time, Norman has just found someone – the Saudi Public Investment Fund – to finance his revenge under the guise of ‘developing the game,” while promising its LIV players money just to show up and the luxury of playing less and spending more time at home.”
Pepper wrote that it was all a “promise with many conditions attached”. She noted that Patrick Reed played an Asian Tour event last week “in an effort to stay relevant in the Official World Golf Rankings” – LIV is currently not recognized by the OWGR, although he has requested let his events be. She also pointed out that LIV contracts come with provisions, which was first reported by the the wall street journal.
“The result so far? Pepper wrote. “A deep divide between those who are true to what we have known golf has been since its inception: a game of honor, of merit, of respect for those who came before us and those who took the easy way out with money to play. exhibition golf that has no soul. None of this makes golf a better place. Instead, it reduces it to other sports that spend time in the courtrooms trying to gain an advantage by means other than winning on the playing field.”
About the LPGA, Pepper’s thoughts come in light of Norman saying he was interested in a LIV women’s golf series, and LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan telling The Times of London last month that she “would take the call” if Norman ever wanted to talk. Notably, female golf stars Nelly and Jessica Korda are among those playing in an Aramco Team Series event this week. This series is presented by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, the same fund that backs LIV.
Pepper wrote that “it would be a huge mistake to consider, let alone accept, meeting a group that places so little human value on women”.
“Aramco, officially the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, has supported a handful of Ladies European Tour events as this tour has struggled, but the line must be drawn by the LPGA,” she wrote. “It must continue the constant work of its founders with its strong network of sponsors who showcase the players with respect.”
Then, between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, there are tournaments and a possible legal case. This week, the Tour is contesting the BMW Championship, the second of its three playoff tournaments, while LIV Golf will be contesting its fourth event this year on Labor Day weekend. The parties will also meet in the courtroom, but not for some time. A group of LIV golfers recently filed an antitrust lawsuit against the Tour alleging the Tour was unlawfully sanctioning them for signing with the rival tour, despite a judge saying on Thursday the trial would not begin in early 2024.
In her post, Pepper wrapped things up with a question.
“A final thought: in a world where so many people are asking: How much can golf earn me? how about asking “How can I repay golf for what they gave me?” “, She wrote. “I know I can never return this gift, and I also know I’m not alone.”
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