Greg Norman has branded Jack Nicklaus “a hypocrite” for distancing himself from golf’s Saudi-backed rebel tour, claiming the 18-time major champion had previously voiced support for the venture.
Norman is leading LIV Golf Investment’s efforts to launch a breakaway, $225 million (£179 million) series of tournaments which have divided the sport and challenged the supremacy of the PGA Tour.
Nicklaus, a long-time friend and mentor to Norman, revealed he had turned down an offer in excess of $100m from LIV and pledged allegiance to the PGA Tour.
“One hundred per cent truth? Jack’s a hypocrite,” Norman told the Washington Post. “When he came out with those comments, I’m thinking: Jack must have a short memory.”
The Australian alleged that Nicklaus had been in favor of the new tour during earlier discussions.
“Quote-unquote, he said: ‘This is good for our game. If it’s good for the game of golf, it’s good by me,’ ” Norman said. “So, you want the facts? You’ve got the facts. Know what you said before you open your mouth.”
A spokesman for Nicklaus issued a statement to the Washington Post wishing Norman well but reiterating Nicklaus’ “unwavering support” for the PGA Tour.
Nicklaus is currently being sued by his own business, Nicklaus Companies, after a complaint was filed to the Supreme Court of the State of New York over an alleged breach of contract.
The inaugural LIV Golf event starts at Centurion Golf Club in St Albans on Thursday, with 2020 Masters champion Dustin Johnson the biggest attraction at a tournament with a $25 million purse. The winner of the individual prize will take home $4 million.
Telegraph Sport reported last week that the 48-man field and their caddies will receive all expenses paid, luxury travel and accommodation with organisers promising players the ‘Tiger Woods treatment’. Speculation is mounting that Phil Mickelson could fill the 48th and final spot in the field, expected to be announced on Monday.