John Daly, the American golfer who is known just as much for his off-course shenanigans as he is for his on-course talent, has expressed his desire to join Greg Norman’s controversial LIV Golf tour. But, his efforts seem to have been for nothing.
Talking openly on a recent episode of Piers Morgan Uncensored, John Daly – still rocking his iconic mullet, which could have been a source of inspiration for Cameron Smith – said (via Golf.com), that he “begged” former Australian golfer turned business mogul Greg Norman for a spot on the Saudi-funded LIV Golf tour, which Norman runs as CEO.
The LIV Golf tour formally kicked off on 11th June 2022 with the first LIV Golf Invitational event taking place in London, England, and has been met with extensive criticism due to its funding by the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. Many critics claim it to be a case of ‘sportwashing’, in which Saudi Arabia is using its money to lure high-profile golfers over to its new, exclusive league, so that it can improve its global image.
Saudi Arabia has a torrid history of human rights violations. Even Lewis Hamilton has previously protested a Grand Prix taking place in the Middle Eastern country before the inaugural race in December 2021.
But John Daly sees the LIV Golf league as a perfect medium for golfers to get paid what they’re due. Speaking to Piers Morgan, he said, “You know, we work really hard. I play with Brian Harman in a practice round and some other guys in the practice rounds of the British Open, and it’s like we play pro-ams.”
“We get it, ok? That’s what is the backbone of a lot of our tournaments. But, Brian Harman says, ‘Give us a box of chocolates for the effort.'”
“We make tent visits. We do this, we do that. I play two-to-three pro-ams (tournaments that feature professional and amateur golfers) every week on the Champions Tour, and you know we don’t play for a lot of money on the Champions Tour. So, I almost feel like, ‘OK, I’m not getting a lot out of this. What are we doing?'”
Daly added, “It’s a big party. They play for a lot of money, and these guys that are on that tour deserve that money.”
However, Greg Norman has appeared to have disagreed with Daly’s comments, as he reportedly told him he’s “too old.”
And, at 56 years old, John Daly could be regarded as being a little too old to continue swinging with the younger guys coming through, yet 52-year-old Phil Mickelson has been able to sign on to the LIV Golf tour, a decision which was also met with incredible backlash.
Mickelson has allegedly been critical of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record in the past, yet received a US$200 million contract to play in the LIV series.
It’s an unfortunate upset for John Daly, because, while he is still involved with the PGA Tour and the PGA Tour Champions (the senior golf tour for the over-50s) we feel the two-time major winner should get a chance to swing for some serious money.
He also said on Pier Morgan’s show, “We don’t play for a lot of money on the Champions Tour.”
“I’m not getting a lot out of this, what are we doing? I’d rather play with amateurs than the pros sometimes, but we’ve got to get compensated for that, and the LIV Tour is giving players that,” he said.
It would also be great to see the famous John Daly golf swing, which for the vast majority of the PGA Tour’s history, averaged over 300 yards per drive throughout each season and earned him the nickname “Long John.”