Norman sees Adelaide success as blueprint for all LIV Golf events

rugby25 April 2024 08:15| © SuperSport
article image
Greg Norman © Getty Images

Entertainment, star names and awareness of culture are the three key ingredients Greg Norman has used to build LIV Golf, with the Australian confident the formula can be transplanted anywhere to capitalise on pent-up demand.

Now in its second full season, spanning 14 tournaments, the Saudi-backed league and its 54-hole format, punctuated by thumping music, has injected itself as a rival to the PGA Tour, poaching a slew of high-profile talent.

Its fledgling success is nowhere more evident than in Norman's homeland, with fans flocking to the tour's Adelaide stop last year and capacity expanded at this week's event to cater for demand.

"This event here, from last to this year, is the benchmark for LIV," said Norman.

"We get all the other events, 13 events around the world to take a look at what we've delivered here and what Adelaide has delivered and what the state government has delivered and what the local community and the region has delivered, and you go, it can be done. Here it is."

South Australia state premier Peter Malinauskas took a gamble on agreeing to host the tournament in the face of blowback over concern about Saudi Arabia's human rights record.

But the risk paid off, with Adelaide named the world's best golf event of 2023 by the World Golf Awards, which are part of the World Travel Awards.

"We always took a calculated risk as a government that Australian golf fans had been starved of high-quality professional golf for decades ... and they responded in droves," he said.

"What I think will take this event to another level this year is that there are a lot more people here. We've increased the capacity of the facilities here at Grange (Golf Club)."

Norman believes the LIV formula in Adelaide, with an interactive fan village, pop-up food options, golf-focused entertainment and live music at the end of the day, can be taken anywhere, particularly markets deprived of elite golf such as Australia.

"Every market is different because we've got to look at the different cultures that we work with," he said.

"But when you look at the three specific things, you have entertainment and you have golf and you have culture.

"So if you take those three ingredients everywhere you go in the world, you'll be able to figure out the right way to inject a LIV event somewhere."


Marc Leishman, part of the all-Australian "Ripper" team, sees unlimited opportunities, with the potential for each of the 13 LIV teams to host a "home" tournament.

"There's opportunities all around the world, markets that haven't been hit yet like Adelaide hadn't been," he said.

"You've got Torque (team) – there's an opportunity for a tournament in Chile, the South African lads I'm sure would love to have one in South Africa, you've got all of Asia and India.

"There's just so many opportunities, places that haven't seen world-class golf for a long time."

Fellow Australian and former major winner Cameron Smith added: "I'm definitely putting my hand up for more of an international schedule and getting fans out that haven't seen quality golf for a while and showing them what LIV is all about."

Norman is already planning LIV's 2025 and 2026 schedules, despite uncertainty around what the global golf calendar may look like.

A framework merger agreement between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF) – LIV Golf's financial backers – was unveiled last June to controversy.

Talks have since been extended about a deal to bring all sides together in a partnership, but no outcome is in sight.

"I would love to give you insight but I don't have any," said Norman.

"I really don't want to know what's going on over there because we are so fixated on growing and developing and building out what LIV is today and looking and doing our schedule for 2025 and going into 2026.

"Our responsibility is to look after our people, our players, and where we want to go."