Greg Norman’s position at the helm of the Saudi-backed rebel golf series is in doubt

Golf’s bitter power struggle has taken another twist, with Greg Norman’s position in the rebel series now in serious doubt.

Greg Norman’s position at the helm of the Saudi-backed rebel golf series is in doubt after the sudden departure of LIV Golf’s commercial chief.

Sean Bratches’s exit came days after Norman, the frontman for the Saudis in golf’s bitter power struggle, caused controversy when he brushed off the murder of the dissident Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi by saying: “We all make mistakes.”

LIV Golf Investments, bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the PIF, is organising a breakaway series and planning a super league in 2024.

The two main existing tours, the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, have refused to release members to play in the first event of the LIV Golf Invitational Series, which starts at Centurion Club near St Albans next month.

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Greg Norman’s position at the helm of the Saudi-backed rebel golf series is in doubt. Picture: Getty Images
Greg Norman’s position at the helm of the Saudi-backed rebel golf series is in doubt. Picture: Getty Images

Norman has vowed to defend players and reimburse them if they are fined.

The departure of Bratches is a huge blow to the Saudi project. He sat alongside Norman at last week’s media day when the Australian was criticised for his remarks about Khashoggi and human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Norman, who was named chief executive of LIV Golf Investments in October, said of the 2018 murder in the Saudi consulate:

“Everybody has owned up to it, right? Take ownership no matter what it is. Look, we’ve all made mistakes and you just want to learn from those mistakes.”

Bratches did not comment on the human rights issue but sounded enthusiastic as he later spoke about LIV Golf’s commercial plans.

His exit damages the Saudis’ push for credibility as he had been widely praised for raising the profile of Formula One during his time as managing director of commercial operations.

There has been mounting speculation at the US PGA Championship in Tulsa that Norman, 67, is set to be dropped by the Saudis.

This story was originally published at The Times.

Originally published as Greg Norman’s position at the helm of the Saudi-backed rebel golf series is in doubt

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