In an interview with The Fire Pit Collective on Monday, golf legend Jack Nicklaus revealed that he was offered upwards of $100 million to be the leader of the Saudi Arabian-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.
“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,” Nicklaus said. “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.'”
Nicklaus was part of the group that helped form the PGA Tour as a breakaway circuit from PGA of America back in 1968. ‘Golden Bear’ went on to have one heck of a career on Tour, winning 73 times — along with a record 18 major championships.
Norman, the current CEO of LIV Golf, has been the face of the new startup tour for the past several months. However, based on Nicklaus’ recent statement, Norman apparently was not the Saudi’s first choice to serve as commander of the operations.
What Should Phil Do?
Nicklaus was also asked about what advice he would give to Phil Mickelson, who will not be defending his title at the PGA Championship later this week at Southern Hills.
“My advice to Phil? My advice to Phil would be to be patient. The world is a very forgiving place. But he’s the one [that] has to decide where he wants to play and what he wants to do.”
Mickelson, 51, has been laying low ever since February, when he made controversial comments regarding his interest in the Saudi-backed league. Due to those comments, the six-time major champion missed out on The Masters for the first time since 1994 and lost sponsorships from KPMG, Amstel Light, and Workday.
According to The Telegraph in London, Mickelson received $30 million upfront to join LIV Golf and must appear in each of the eight events. Multiple sources confirmed Mickelson was among the group of players that requested a release from the PGA Tour to play in the first LIV Golf event.
The LIV Golf Invitational Series is set to host its inaugural tournament at Centurion Club in London from June 9-11. The eight-event series will have five tournaments in the United States, including a team championship match-play finale at Trump Doral in Miami, Florida.
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