On the first day of the first tournament in the LIV Golf Series, Greg Norman found himself embroiled in controversy after leading golf writer Alan Shipnack was expelled from Phil Mickelson’s press conference.
Shiponak, a biographer of Mickelson and the man who reported his earlier comments about the Saudi-sponsored tour that the golfer claimed were off the record, said he was “physically removed” by the security described as “thugs”.
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“Well, some necklace security friends physically removed me from Phil Mickelson’s press conference, saying they were working under the direction of their boss, whose name they refused to say. Here,” Shipnack tweeted.
However, Norman’s involvement in the incident, which was captured on video and has since gone viral, prompted Shipnack to turn his attention to the besieged CEO of LIV Golf, which included a text exchange with the rebellious tour boss.
When Shipnack reached out to Norman about the matter, the text chain showed that the former British Open winner was complaining of ignorance.
The ship’s text reads: “Did you know that I was just persuaded by a couple of your thugs from Phil’s press conference? Luckily for you I kept my composure and calmed the situation. Please call me to discuss.”
Complaint that Norman replied: “Didn’t hear. Thanks for letting me know.”
Shipnack then shares a screenshot showing Norman standing behind him watching him throw.
“It’s funny because:” Shipnack wrote above the picture that Norman was looking at.
In an email to Gulf Week about his removal, Shipnak said he was shocked by the request to leave.
“This whole situation is messy and ridiculous. If I have another annoying golf question for Phil, I’ll ask it because I’ve flown 6,000 miles to stay here and I don’t want to be silenced by Greg Norman and his thugs.”
“Or maybe I’ll just focus on Chantananuwat Ratchanan.… She looks like a pretty kid.
“I have no ill will towards Phil. I just wanted to ask him an annoying golf question, which is my job. Either he is very sensitive or the LIV people are very protective but, somehow, they are overreacting.”
“The security guards were inappropriately aggressive and physical, considering that I was standing there trying to understand the bizarre reasons they wanted to remove me.”
Refreshed by his one-under 69 performance at Centurion Club, Mickelson has repeatedly refused to answer questions about the PGA Tour’s decision to ban him, telling reporters he would not answer such questions no matter what. For his play, Mickelson said he enjoyed his time on the course.
“I’ve been playing for quite some time, so I don’t know. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Mickelson via Sports Illustrated’s Bob Harrig. “People were great and it was fun to hit some good shots and come back to a competitive frame. I really enjoyed it.
“It’s a very quiet force here.”
LIV Golf, a product of the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund, was outraged, calling the PGA Tour “retaliatory” after its decision, saying the move would only deepen divisions. There was no sign of Saudi support across the Centurion club In England, no sponsor branding.
Mickelson wore a black cap adorned with his personal logo to complement a golf silhouette, a replacement for the KPMG-branded one worn by corporate sponsors in February before the deal was scrapped after insulting the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia.
Throughout the course, the only branding was LIV Golf and a rare number of spectators in attendance. There were conspiracies from those who came, with a desire to see many of the world’s top golfers, though none from the top 10.
Unlike many spectators, Jim Dawkins, who has been attending golf events for six decades, paid about 8 118 for his pass to the club between Hemel Hempstead and St. Albans.
“I thought it would be interesting to see how this works as the first tournament of the Rebel tour and who is playing,” said Dawkins, 91, who protested against the PGA Tour’s banned players. “I’ve seen an awful lot of change.”
LIV is running a small 54-hole, three-day tournament, with a shotgun showing players t-off various holes. What confuses Dawkins is the elements of the team.
The field is divided into 12 teams, with Dustin Johnson’s 4 Aces and Graeme McDowell’s proud logos and brush names like Niblix.
“I find it hard to follow this scoreboard,” said Dawkins, who traveled south of London. “You got the players there. I don’t know how the teams are organized. “
The top three teams share $ 7 million at the top of the হ 28 million prize fund for each event divided individually among golfers.
In order to receive outstanding prizes, players not only had to overcome concerns about being banned from events such as the PGA Tour and the Ryder Cup, there were also ethical doubts.
It is a series seen as part of an effort by Saudi Arabia, branded “sportswashing” by human rights groups, to remove stains of state abuse.
“It’s just rubbish, it’s just a game,” said Colin Chambers, a 70-year-old friend of Dawkins. “When you think about the Chinese, what they do and we’re still happy to go to their Olympics.”
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