Greg Norman said Tuesday he has been asked not to attend the QBE Shootout this season, the PGA Tour event he founded and has been hosting at his Naples, Fla., field for more than three decades.
The issue Norman hinted at in his Instagram post is that he is the CEO of the controversial LIV Golf Invitational series.
“Unfortunately, after 33 consecutive years of playing and hosting every Shootout — an event co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour — since I founded it in 1989, I have been asked not to attend this year,” Norman wrote in part.
“Why may I ask? Perhaps it’s because I’m helping to breathe new life into golf, create new value, and deliver a new product that players, fans and broadcasters alike love. And in doing so, finally give players their rights as independent contractors to capitalize on their performance and brand. According to some people, it is too destructive, and evolution is perceived as something bad.
Norman has been CEO of LIV Golf since its inception earlier this year and has drawn criticism for his involvement in the Saudi-backed league. He was asked not to attend the British Open earlier this year and R&A said they hoped to invite him in the future only “when circumstances permit”. LIV Golf, as well as several players, are currently in a legal battle with the PGA Tour.
The QBE Shootout is an unofficial Tour event held each December at the Gold Course at Norman-designed Tiburon Golf Club. The 54-hole event competes with 12 teams of two players and has raised over $15 million for charity.
Kevin Na and Jason Kokrak won the tournament last year by 33 under par in a week.
QBE Shootout director Rob Hartman told Naples Daily News on Tuesday that they had been discussing the role of Norman for months.
“As we bonded, the decision was eventually made that he would step back and really focus on our amazing philanthropic partners,” Hartman said. “When he started this event 34 years ago, it was all about charity and now. Greg just made the decision that he didn’t want anything to detract from it.”