Rumors of Greg Norman's demise were greatly exaggerated.
Both Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods called for Norman's removal if LIV Golf and the PGA Tour are to come to some sort of detente, and there was some belief Norman might be on the way out when reports surfaced suggesting LIV was targeting a more "traditional" chief executive than the charismatic-but-blustery Norman. But LIV has maintained throughout that Norman is indispensable, and Sports Illustrated is reporting that Norman's role within the organization has actually been strengthened. That's because Majed al-Sorour, the CEO of Golf Saudi who was acting as the managing director of LIV Golf, will leave the role but remain heavily involved in LIV's future as one of its seven board members.
"Majed Al-Sorour has been and will continue to be an invaluable part of LIV Golf, as he continues in his Board of Directors capacity," LIV said in a statement. "Majed's role was pivotal in supporting the launch of LIV Golf. As the business transitions into its first full season with a new broadcast partnership in place, the time is right for the Managing Director role to transition and for Majed to focus efforts and attention on other interests. We are grateful for Majed's hard work, contributions and getting LIV to this new stage."
Al-Sorour is the third executive to have departed LIV Golf since its first season wrapped in November. Atul Khosla, former president of LIV Golf, left the company shortly after its season finale, and Matt Goodman, former head of franchises, departed shortly thereafter.
Al-Sorour, you might recall, is the one who claimed he'd simply start his own majors if the existing four voted to ban his players.
That news came as part of more LIV news that dropped Monday—namely, the release of its 14-event "league" schedule. LIV had previously announced some of its more marquee stops, like at former PGA Tour venue Mayakoba in Mexico and longtime DP World Tour host Valderrama in Spain, but LIV officially filled out its schedule. The league will kick off Feb. 24 at Mayakoba, as expected, but this year's LIV Tour Championship will take place at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Last year's year-end event was at Trump's Doral property in Miami; that venue will host the penultimate LIV event, and Trump's Bedminster property will host an event for the second consecutive year. A third Trump venue, Trump National Golf Club outside Washington, D.C., will also host a LIV event.
Here's the schedule in full, and a really helpful graphic from Golf.com's Sean Zak:
Feb. 24-26: El Camaleon Golf Club, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
March 17-19: The Gallery Golf Club, Tucson, Arizona
March 31-April 2: Orange County National (Crooked Cat), Orlando, Florida
April 21-23: The Grange Golf Club, Adelaide, Australia
April 28-30: Sentosa Golf Club (Serapong Course), Singapore
May 12-14: Cedar Ridge Country Club, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
May 26-28: Trump National Golf Club, Washington, D.C.
June 30-July 2: Real Club Valderrama, Sotogrande, Spain
July 7-9: Centurion Club, London, England
Aug. 4-6: The Old White Course, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Aug. 11-13: Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster, New Jersey
Sept. 22-24: Rich Harvest Farms, Sugar Grove, Illinois
Oct. 20-22: Trump National Doral, Miami, Florida
Nov. 3-5: Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
A few takeaways…
—Only one of these events, the New Jersey one, will take place opposite one of the PGA Tour's 13 "designated events."
—Most events are opposite weaker-field PGA Tour events, which makes sense as LIV competes for golf-watching eyeballs.
—The LIV players who have qualified for the Masters will play an event outside Orlando the week before driving up Magnolia Lane.
—LIV has positioned itself as a more international option to the U.S.-focused PGA Tour, but eight of the 14 events will take place inside the United States.
—LIV has still not announced the 48 players that will participate in the inaugural league season. Each LIV field looked different last year as a slow trickle of players made the jump from the PGA Tour to LIV Golf. That won't be the case this year—one of LIV's main selling points is having the same 48 players, and the same 12 four-man teams, at each of its events. Granted, LIV would likely make room for a high-profile player wanting to make the switch, but there is some pressure for LIV to lock up more big names before the league season kicks off. Mito Pereira is widely believed to be making the jump to LIV, but it is not clear what other top-level players might join him.