Saudi golf group set to unveil new series with Greg Norman as commissioner

Greg Norman is expected to be announced as the frontman for the new circuit.

Saudi golf group set to unveil new series with Greg Norman as commissioner

Multiple people have confirmed to Golfweek that a private meeting with golf media members took place on Wednesday, outlining plans for a new Saudi-backed golf series. The five people spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the series won’t be officially announced until next week.

Greg Norman is expected to be announced as the commissioner for the new circuit, sources have also confirmed.

It’s unclear whether the new series will be unveiled as a full league—the Saudis have previously pitched the Premier Golf League (PGL) and Super Golf League (SGL) to no avail—or as a trial balloon with a handful of tournaments. Nor is it clear what the PGA Tour will do in response.

Media members who attended the session in New York City were asked to hold the news until early next week, sources have confirmed. Golfweek, which has written critically about the potential tour in the past, was not invited to attend the event.

With the Saudis behind the push, the new circuit will have the cash to lure top names. Back in May, a group made multi-million dollar offers to several of the game’s best players, including then-world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose, with some reaching in the neighborhood of $50 million.

That proposed league was expected to feature 40-48 players playing an 18-event schedule in tournaments around the world with lucrative purses, with a season-ending team championship. The league would have included guaranteed money as well as a team concept that would dole out ownership stakes for 10-12 players who would captain four-man teams.

The rival league push came to a head in the late spring with the Saudis looking to partner with the European Tour. Soon after, the PGA Tour announced a new pot of $40 million called the Player Impact Program to “recognize and reward players who positively move the needle.” At the end of the year, these funds will be distributed among 10 players, with the player deemed most valuable receiving $8 million.

The PGA Tour also announced a new strategic partnership with the European Tour.

The unencumbered Asian Tour, however, is still a viable option for with whom the Saudis could partner. In fact, the 2022 Saudi International in February will be conducted under the auspices of that tour, in which the Saudis made a $100 million investment. Golfweek last week reported that eight PGA Tour players have asked for permission to participate in that event. Tour players need to obtain a release to compete on other circuits.

Norman is an interesting, but natural choice to front the new series. In 1994, he proposed the World Golf Tour, a series of eight no-cut events intended to bring 40 players together. The plan was shot down by the Tour, yet then-commissioner Tim Finchem announced the World Golf Championships in 1997, adhering to many of the same principles. Golfweek reached out to Norman’s public relations person, Jane MacNeille, but didn’t get a response.

Norman was among those flown in to take part in the inaugural Golf Saudi Summit in 2020. Others who also took part in that event included Asian Tour CEO Cho Minn Thant and Ladies European Tour CEO Alexandra Armas.

Saudi Golf has been forcing its way into the international golf scene in recent years, including ownership of the Ladies European Tour’s Aramco Team Series, which made its third of four stops at the Glen Oaks Club on Oct. 14-16. Nelly Korda, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas were among the American players in the field. The final stop of that series will be in November in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, the same venue hosting the Saudi International.

Source : Golf Week More   

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Oklahoma State Cowgirls, Oklahoma Sooner men take home respective East Lake Cup titles

They came in and played well over the summer and this fall, and us coaches pretty much just got out of their way."

Oklahoma State Cowgirls, Oklahoma Sooner men take home respective East Lake Cup titles

Many know East Lake Golf Club as the host venue for the Tour Championship, the final stage of the FedEx Cup playoffs on the PGA Tour. However, the East Lake Cup, since its inception in 2015, puts the best teams in college golf on full display over the three-day event.

Tuesday, both teams from Oklahoma State made their respected championship matches. On the ladies’ side, Duke defeated Ole Miss to advance to the finals against OSU. As for the men, Oklahoma, ranked No. 1 in Golfweek’s Collegiate rankings, took down Pepperdine to move on.

“We handled the wind very well,” Duke head coach Dan Brooks said after the Blue Devils’ win. “You know, I think I learned that they’re as good as I thought they were.”

Oklahoma State men’s head coach Alan Bratton was proud of how his team fought back after a tough start to their day.

“I think our guys showed a lot of toughness. We had guys fall behind in their matches. I think our first three matches our guys were behind early and they just kept plugging along,” Bratton said. “Eugenio Chacarra did a wonderful job of leading us out there. He lost the first hole and then after that, his opponent didn’t have another putt to win a hole the rest of the match.”

After much-needed rest, teams returned to East Lake Wednesday for the finals.

Battle of Bedlam

If you’re a college football fan, you’re aware of the incredible rivalry between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. Lucky for golf fans, we got our own version this week down in Atlanta.

The Sooners defended their No. 1 ranking by defeating the Cowboys 3-2. Chris Gotterup dunked this eagle chip to take control of his match late Wednesday afternoon.

“Golf is 18 holes, right? And our guys did a great job. Jaxon Dowell coming down the stretch, pulling it out, huge point.” Oklahoma head coach Ryan Hybl said after their victory. “Chris Gotterup did a fantastic job here on the back nine. Logan McAllister was nails all day long.”

Cowgirls get the W

Despite the Oklahoma State men’s loss, the ladies came in and took care of business against Duke, just like they’ve been doing all fall long. The Cowgirls beat the Blue Devils 3-2.

Hailey Jones buried a par putt on the 17th green to not only win her match but seal the deal for the Oklahoma State ladies’ first East Lake Cup win.

“These girls are competitive,” Cowgirl head coach Greg Robertson said just after their win. “They came in and played well over the summer and this fall, and us coaches pretty much just got out of their way.”

This strategy has paid off for the coaching staff, as their girls have yet to lose this fall season.

Rina Tatematsu (Oklahoma State) won the ladies’ individual title, while Preston Summerhays (Arizona State) and Chris Gotterup (Oklahoma) were co-medalists on the men’s side.

Source : Golf Week More   

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