LIV Golf is pursuing ex-TaylorMade executive and current Taco Bell CEO Mark King as a replacement for Greg Norman, the Saudi-backed circuit’s current CEO, per The Telegraph (via Riley Hamel and David Dusek of Golfweek).
King “is believed to have met with” Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which finances LIV Golf.
However, LIV Golf has denied the report and intends to release a statement regarding the matter, per Bob Harig of Sports Illustrated.
King worked for TaylorMade for 34 years, beginning as a territory sales representative. He was named president of the company in 1999 and became CEO in 2002, turning it into one of the most influential equipment makers in golf.
King became president of Adidas from 2014-18 and has been with Taco Bell since 2019.
LIV Golf named Norman its CEO in October 2021, making him the face of the controversial Saudi-backed circuit. He was a leader in guiding the circuit through its inaugural 2022 season and helped mold it into the PGA Tour’s largest rival.
Norman also played a significant role in convincing some of the PGA Tour’s top players to join LIV Golf, including Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Cameron Smith. He lured those players with contracts reportedly worth more than $100 million.
LIV Golf’s inaugural season consisted of eight events played in London; Boston; Chicago; Bangkok; Miami; Bedminster, New Jersey; Portland, Oregon; and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It is expanding to 14 events in 2023.
Speaking in a video teleconference this month, Norman expressed optimism about LIV Golf’s first season, saying he was “extremely proud” of what the breakaway league achieved in a short period of time, per ESPN’s Mark Schlabach:
“I’m extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished. Our long-held dream of creating a league that puts golfers and fans first has arrived. Professional golfers are finally getting paid the way they always should have been paid. Fans are getting new and more exciting golf. The experience at our events is [like] nothing else. It’s fun and that’s the way golf should be. I can’t wait for next year, to be honest with you. I’m already preparing for it with my entire team.”
Norman also told reporters this month that one of his top priorities is to add more high-end talent ahead of the 2023 season. There has been speculation that more of the PGA Tour’s top stars could join LIV Golf in 2023, including Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.
However, if Norman is replaced as CEO, it may become someone else’s job to add more talent. In addition, LIV is still searching for a television deal after 2022 events were only available to be streamed on YouTube.
Source : Bleacher Report