Greg Norman, the Australian who has been entrusted with overseeing the attempted revolution, has claimed that LIV has more than 70 pros registered for the curtain-raiser at Centurion, including 15 of the world’s top 100. With $255 million up for grabs in the eight -event series, the riches are inevitably tempting, despite the traditional tours threatening lifetime bans, which will include banishment from the Ryder Cup.
Of course, Norman and the Saudis are chasing the big names, and although the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have pledged their loyalty to the status quo – as well as the overwhelming majority of the youngsters at the top of the rankings – the statements of the likes of Garcia and Westwood have created outrage in the locker room. Nobody has reacted more passionately than Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera, who claimed his feelings about him are widespread among the Tour’s rank and file.
“There are players who don’t need the money but are going to the Saudis,” he said. “Those guys will tell you they have given enough to the Tour, but they didn’t organize s—. We just arrive, shake hands, play pro-am, play great, earn a lot of money that someone organized for you. I’m very lost and a bit angry. Tensions are here and will come for sure. It is going to be interesting. Don’t get me wrong. If we take the two guys that have been in the news – Sergio and Lee – they have been fantastic professionally to me.
“But this situation I just don’t get. You cannot just spit on your home Tour like this. If you listen to them it feels like it’s been 20 very hard years and finally they have got out of that s—. But before this they were getting a s—load of money and everybody was happy.”