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Golf legend Greg Norman appointed CEO of new Saudi majority-owned company PIF LIV Golf Investments

WEST PALM BEACH: Former World No. 1 golfer and World Golf Hall of Fame member Greg Norman has been appointed Managing Director of a new Saudi-backed company, LIV Golf Investments.

The appointment of the 66-year-old Australian was to trigger a number of important developments for professional golf around the world.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds with a diversified international investment portfolio, is the majority shareholder of the new company.

And Norman’s first order of business was the announcement of a groundbreaking series of 10 new events that will be hosted on the Asian Tour each year for the next 10 years, representing a total commitment of over $ 200 million. to support gaming opportunities and prize funds.

The move represents one of the biggest investments in the history of professional golf.

The series will be added to the Asian Tour calendar from 2022, with new events in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. It was designed to spark greater engagement among fans, attract new commercial interest and help stabilize professional golf after a prolonged period of global disruption and uncertainty.

Norman said: “This is just the start. LIV Golf Investments has secured a major capital commitment which will be used to create additional new opportunities in professional golf worldwide.

“We will be a cooperative and respectful supporter of the game at all levels, and today’s announcement alongside the Asian Tour is the prime example.

“I have been a fervent and convinced supporter of the practice and development of golf in Asia for over four decades. The Asian Tour is a sleeping giant, and we share the ambition to grow the series and unleash what we believe to be significant untapped potential.

“We see our promotion of these new events as a vital first step in supporting emerging markets, creating a new platform rich in gaming opportunities that create valuable player journeys,” he added.

LIV Golf Investments was established with group companies in the US and UK, with Asian offices to follow. Several high-level executives have already been appointed and more announcements are to come.

Along with the Saudi PIF, plans are in place to showcase other investment partners who share the passion and belief that new opportunities in professional golf can create far-reaching benefits for fans and players.

Cho Minn Thant, Commissioner and CEO of the Asian Tour, said: “This is the biggest development in the history of the Asian Tour and a major milestone for professional golf. The opportunity will ensure unprecedented new gaming opportunities, establish new avenues for players, allow us to compete commercially with other sports and improve our social agenda.

“We are particularly excited about the prospect that this historic announcement brings to amateur play, providing new inspiration to aspiring players through a new level of high-level professional competition in the region.”

The series will add to the established event backbone of the Asian Tour to include a season of 25 events, which is expected to represent a record combined prize fund in 2022. Each of the 10 new events will be broadcast live in the around the world, with plans to attract an international field of top talent through an open eligibility category regardless of Tour affiliation so that opportunities are available to the widest range of players.

The announcement follows the conclusion of a new 10-year partnership between the Asian Tour and Golf Saudi, the organizers of Saudi International powered by SoftBank Investment Advisers, which will see the event become the flagship tournament of the Asian Tour. . , with an increased prize fund of $ 5 million. Saudi International will not be one of 10 new events to feature as part of the new series, but will provide enhanced exemption requirements itself.

Other signals of increased prosperity for the Asian Tour have also arrived recently with the announcement that competitive play will resume soon after postponement due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Its suspended 2020/21 season will come to an end with two new tournaments hosted in Thailand in November and December, with two more tournaments scheduled for Singapore in January next year.

The new series of 10 events will run throughout 2022, with all full events contributing to the Order of Merit rankings.

Further details on the new series, including a brand and series name reveal, will follow in the near future.

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