Saudi-backed LIV Golf series set to host event in Ireland by 2024 at Donald Trump course in Doonbeg
Greg Norman is determined to take the LIV Golf Invitational Series to Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in Doonbeg, Co Clare.
However, sources close to LIV Golf have indicated it’s likely to be 2024 at the earliest before the Saudi-backed breakaway series lands in the west of Ireland.
The possibility of a new date for the Horizon Irish Open, which could move from the week before The Open to the week after the final Major of the season, is a factor in deciding when the upstart tour event would take place in Ireland.
With the Covid-19 pandemic causing a major backlog of bookings from American visitors, and with Doonbeg almost booked out for 2023, it appears it would be 2024 before the links could host one of the new tour’s 48-man, 54-hole, no-cut events.
Designed by Norman, the links opened in 2002 on 400 acres of dramatic coastline in west Clare.
However, it suffered massive damage to its seaside holes, and after Donald Trump snapped up the property in 2014 for an estimated €15 million, it was radically overhauled in 2016 by acclaimed links architect Dr Martin Hawtree.
A decision on an Irish event could come quickly, with the former US president, whose New Jersey course Trump National Bedminster is hosting the third event of the LIV Golf Series this week, due to visit his Irish property at the end of next month.
Trump Bedminster was scheduled to host this year’s PGA Championship, but following the Capitol riots of January 2021 officials at the PGA of America pulled the event.
Trump is now fully onboard the LIV Golf train, with the tour’s season-ending event set for Trump National Doral in Miami from October 27-30.
The new tour announced this week that 48 players and 12 team franchises would compete in a 14-event Golf League next year.
The former US president also owns two courses in Scotland – Trump Turnberry and Trump Aberdeen.
Norman appears determined to win his battle with the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour having been thwarted in his efforts to create a new tour in the 1990s.
The Australian admitted to the New York Post this week that it was a personal mission to win the battle this time.
“Look, that’s a very easy, shallow comment to make,” Norman said when asked if this was the continuation of a vendetta. “It’s an easy out. This whole notion about me and (PGA Tour commissioners past and present) (Tim) Finchem, (Deane) Beaman and (Jay) Monahan, is it true? Yeah, to a degree, it is true, because I did challenge them on player rights.
“Maybe my legacy is this, not what I did on the golf course. What I did on the golf course gave me the opportunity to see this chance.”
Poaching European Ryder Cup captain Henrik Stenson was a blow to the DP World Tour, which is expected to name Luke Donald as the Swede’s replacement on Monday.
However, there are strong indications from LIV Golf that Norman is preparing to strike another blow to Europe by landing storied Valderrama in Spain as one of its 14 venues.
While sources in Spain indicate that no deal has yet been done with Valderrama, which is set to host the Estrella Damm NA Andalucia Masters from October 13-16 this year, LIV Golf is believed to be confident it will win the day.
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