Jack Nicklaus has claimed to have been offered more than $100 MILLION to front LIV Golf Investments.
In an interview with golf writer Michael Bamberger for the Fire Pit Collective, the 18-time major champion said that he turned down the offer from Saudi Arabian executives on two separate occasions.
“I was offered something in excess of $100 million by the Saudis, to do the job probably similar to the one that Greg [Norman] is doing,” said Nicklaus. “I turned it down. Once verbally, once in writing.
“I said, ‘Guys, I have to stay with the PGA Tour. I helped start the PGA Tour.’”
LIV Golf Investments is the parent company of the LIV Golf Invitational Series, a lucrative start-up professional golf circuit that is scheduled to stage its first event next month.
In late October last year, two-time Open champion and former world No.1 Norman was announced as LIV Golf’s first and founding CEO.
The new body has fielded controversy almost from day one because of its links to Saudi Arabia. The pariah state is bankrolling the new tour through its Public Investment Fund.
Created in 1971, PIF is one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, with total estimated assets of more than $500 billion.
Some of its investments include a $498.5m stake in Disney; a $713.7m stake in Boeing; a $522m stake in Facebook; a $827.7m stake in BP; and a $2.7bn stake in Uber. Last April, PIF was part of a consortium that bought Newcastle United Football Club in a deal reported to be worth £300m.
However, many have dismissed the LIV Golf Invitational Series as an act of deliberate sportswashing on the part of the Saudis. Norman, indeed, was strongly criticised by Amnesty International for comments he made last week about the country’s human rights record.
Read the Nicklaus comments in full
Jack Nicklaus’ comments feature in an article titled ‘TRUMPED’ on the Fire Pit Collective website. Click here to read it in full.