How Greg Norman made Cameron Smith defect to LIV as CEO says Aussie taxpayers could fund event

Greg Norman has revealed he used the lure of a 25% stake in a LIV Golf franchise to get Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman to join the Rebels, which could receive taxpayer money in a bid to lure her Down Under.

Norman has revealed the tour’s business model, which will involve Smith and Leishman effectively running an Australian team to compete in a world championship next year.

Smith was reportedly paid $140 million to leave the PGA Tour and sign with LIV Golf, but the deal also included giving the 29-year-old and Leishman the keys to a franchise, which Norman wants to commercialize in Australia.

How Greg Norman made Cameron Smith defect to LIV as CEO says Aussie taxpayers could fund event

Greg Norman (pictured at the LIV Golf Invitational in Boston) has revealed that part of Cam Smith’s deal includes running the LIV franchise in Australia

Cameron Smith (pictured at the LIV Golf Invitational in Boston) has come under fire for leaving the PGA Tour in favor of LIV Golf's $140m offer.

Cameron Smith (pictured at the LIV Golf Invitational in Boston) has come under fire for leaving the PGA Tour in favor of LIV Golf’s $140m offer.

“You have to think about it from Cam’s perspective, he fully understood one thing that other people struggle to understand: the value that LIV Golf brings and that new value is the franchise,” Norman told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Cam knows, but he’s probably too young to understand what Kerry Packer did in cricket. He did what he did for the players, building teams and night cricket… look where it evolved from there with the IPL. The value of these groups in India is incredible. This is the new value we bring.

‘[Smith] he sees the market that Australia presents and the market that, quite frankly, has been starved of quality players and new value to the game of golf.

“The Presidents Cup comes there once every seven to 10 years, it sucks the economy and then it’s gone.”

Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman will join other LIV players, including Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia, in operating one of 12 franchises in 2023 in a Formula 1-style concept

Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman will join other LIV players, including Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia, in operating one of 12 franchises in 2023 in a Formula 1-style concept

Smith and Leishman will join other LIV players, including Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia, to operate one of 12 franchises in a Formula 1-style concept starting in 2023.

Norman said the teams of four players would wear the same uniforms and that the captains would choose new names for their teams.

It has also been revealed that Australia’s state governments are putting taxpayers’ money on the table to attract the Saudi-backed association, with Norman already in talks with ministers in a bid to stage an event.

Norman says Smith (pictured) agrees with him about the huge opportunity for LIV in Australia, which he believes is starved for top quality golfing talent

Norman says Smith (pictured) agrees with him about the huge opportunity for LIV in Australia, which he believes is starved for top quality golfing talent

When Norman was asked if governments offered money to lure a tournament, the LIV Golf CEO was blunt.

“Yes, there have definitely been discussions. Negotiations will probably start here next week,” he explained.

“There’s been a lot of interest from state governments to golf clubs.”

Starting in 2023, LIV will embark on a 14-event world tour, with courses in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria believed to be in the running to host an event in Australia.

Norman revealed he had been meeting with state governments to find a site in Australia.  He says he expects to close a deal this month

Norman revealed he had been meeting with state governments to find a site in Australia. He says he expects to close a deal this month

Norman will not reveal which ministers he has spoken to, but will confirm he has visited at least a dozen courses to scout potential sites – and has so far only been turned down by Royal Sydney.

“We’ve been to all the top states that love to host sporting events,” he said.

“Interest in Australia is extremely high.”

Norman expects to close a deal this month and has plans to move the tournament every few years to allow more fans to attend.

Starting in 2023, LIV will stage a 14-event world tour, with courses in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria believed to be in the running to host the event in Australia

Starting in 2023, LIV will stage a 14-event world tour, with courses in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria believed to be in the running to host the event in Australia

He has rejected the label that his revolutionary series is a “breakaway” league, stating that “from day one it has always been about being inclusive”.

“This idea that we’re trying to destroy touring is not true. The PGA Tour is trying to destroy us, it’s that simple. But the PGA Tour has not sat down and had a conversation with myself or any of my investors.’

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