Golfing great Jack Nicklaus has turned down a $100m offer to join the Saudi-backed LIV Invitational golf tournament
Golfing great Jack Nicklaus has turned down an offer worth more than $100million to be the face of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational series that hopes to challenge the PGA Tour, which the 82-year-old has helped popularize.
- The Saudi-backed tournament, led by Greg Norman, has recently come under repeated criticism for the country’s human rights record.
- Last week, golfing great Phil Mickelson expressed his desire to join the tournament after withdrawing from the PGA Championship, which he won last year.
- Nicklaus turned down the offer due to his PGA Tour ties
Nicklaus, who has a record 18 major titles among his 73 PGA Tour victories, said in a post Monday on the Fire Pit Collective website that series organizers had asked him to lead the big money tour.
“The Saudis offered me something over $100 million, to do work probably similar to what Greg (Norman) is doing,” Nicklaus said in the report.
Norman, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, is Managing Director of LIV Golf and has become the public face of the tournament.
The Australian came under fire last week when he downplayed the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying: ‘We’ve all made mistakes.
The LIV Golf Invitational series, which will feature an individual and team concept, is set to hold its inaugural season of events from June 9-11 at the Centurion Club outside London, with full purse for the season of eight $255 million events.
Last week, the PGA Tour denied conflicting event reports for members looking to play the Centurion the same week as its RBC Canadian Open in Toronto.
Phil Mickelson, a six-time major champion, who retired from playing in February amid fallout from comments he made about a Saudi-backed golf league, is among the players who had requested releases for the first LIV Golf event.
Mickelson’s public image took a hit when the author of an unauthorized biography on the longtime fan favorite said the golfer told him he was ready to look beyond the rights record rights in Saudi Arabia to gain leverage with the PGA Tour.
The Saudi government denied the accusations of human rights abuses and Mickelson later apologized for the comments, which he said were off the record, then said he planned to walk away from the sport.
“My advice to Phil? My advice to Phil would be to be patient,” Nicklaus said.
“The world is a very forgiving place. But he has to decide where he wants to play and what he wants to do.”