Greg Norman is being accused of hypocrisy as his sizzling war of words with golf commentator Brandel Chamblee took another explosive turn on Thursday.
The Aussie star’s private text exchange with Chamblee was leaked by the popular pundit when he posted screenshots to social media with suggestions Norman has been a hypocrite in his ongoing verbal attacks on the PGA Tour.
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Norman on Wednesday took a contemptuous swipe at his rivals where he said he feels “sorry” for the PGA Tour and how it has shot itself in the foot by refusing to co-exist with Norman’s rebel LIV promotion.
Norman’s war with golf’s establishment exploded this week as rumours swirled Aussie star Cameron Smith is set to defect to the LIV with a bonus signing offer of around $130 million.
On top of Norman’s attack on the PGA Tour, he also singled out Chamblee and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan in his interview with The Palm Beach Post.
Chamblee said last month Norman should be kicked out of the Hall of Fame because of his spearheading of the LIV.
Norman’s response was cutting.
“I find it laughable,” he said.
“Has Brandel Chamblee ever been to Saudi Arabia? Has he ever built a golf course in a third world country? He’s a paid talking bobblehead. That’s all he is. He’s got my phone number. He’s never picked up a phone and asked me a question. Sadly, you’re making yourself look like a jerk. It’s like water off a duck’s back to me.”
Hours after Norman’s statements began to spread across the golfing world, Chamblee took to Twitter to call Norman out.
He posted a screenshot of what he claimed was an exchange with Norman where ‘The Shark’ complimented him for his outspoken commentary.
The screengrab shows Norman told Chamblee: “Keep being you and call it the way you see. Refreshing”.
Chamblee explained why the message exposes Norman’s hypocrisy in a Twitter post.
“Greg Norman *to* Brandel Chamblee before I knew he was being paid by the murderous Saudi regime to sportswash,” he tweeted.
“Funny how when I “call it like I see it” about LIV, it’s not so refreshing to Greg.”
Chamblee is far from the only person in golf Norman won’t be exchanging Christmas cards with this year.
Despite the furore beginning to tear golf apart, Norman is refusing to back down.
“They rested on their laurels thinking they’re the only game in town, they’re the monopolist, they can control the game and this is the way it’s going to be,” Norman said of his PGA adversaries.
“From a player’s perspective I’ve always said the Tour works for us, we don’t work for the Tour. And I was in the minority with that voice.”
Norman is absolutely scathing of golf’s establishment in the Q&A with the newspaper where he also suggests the whole situation could have been avoided if the established Tours had been willing to come to an agreement.
“I think the PGA Tour, I actually feel sorry for them because they’ve really hurt themselves by the rhetoric they’ve been spreading,” he said.
“I’ve taken the high road. OK, you want to say these stupid things, go right ahead. Our business model has stood up to the players and they absolutely love it. Our product has stood up to the players and the fans and they absolutely love it.”
He went on to say: “They brought it on themselves. We haven’t done anything other than putting together a business model and giving independent contractors a right to earn a living doing something else, as well as still being a member of the PGA Tour.
“That is a testament to their stupidity, quite honestly. Instead of sitting down and taking a phone call from us and just say, ‘hey, work this out. We can do it.’ It’s an easy fix it’s ridiculous.”
He said Monahan hasn’t had the “decency” to come to the negotiating table even with Norman stating publicly he envisages a scenario where LIV Golf and the PGA Tour merge.
“It just baffles me they haven’t even had the decency to do it. We opened the door for them a couple of times and they didn’t want to come in,” he said.
“Jay Monahan, if he had the decency to take our meetings right from the get-go none of this stuff would be in place today. The game of golf would be in a much better place.”
LIV Golf is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
Human Rights groups have criticised the venture saying it exists solely to boost Saudi Arabia’s international reputation, a phenomenon labelled “sportswashing”.