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Norman, Mickelson make for an interesting week on LIV Golf

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LIV Golf had another active week before and after Brooks Koepka won in Singapore for his first title of the year.

Greg Norman, the CEO of the Saudi-funded league, had a couple of bold comments in an interview with Bloomberg that indicated LIV isn’t going anywhere.

He said Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the Public Investment Fund that has invested billions in the PGA Tour's rival league, told him LIV Golf “will be well and truly in operation well past his death.”

“And he’s a young guy,” Norman said.

The Shark also tossed out the idea of LIV buying golf courses that would serve as the home venue of teams, much like in team sports. And to top it off, he challenged criticism that no one was tuning in to watch.

“What’s the definition of tuning in?” he asked Bloomberg. “To an 18-year-old, to a 25-year-old, tuning in may be 12 seconds on the phone. ‘Let me see this, then we’ll go back and do that, and then I’ll come back over here and do another 14 seconds on this.’

“That to me is tuning in," he said. "That to me is a market that’s enormously wealthy, right? And enormously influential in the direction where we’re going.”

As for the majors, let Phil Mickelson take it from there. He saw an X post on Sunday that said LIV should make it a priority to get its players access to the majors.

Mickelson replied in a post that he later deleted: “Maybe some LIV players won’t be missed. But what if NONE of the LIV players played? Would they be missed? What about next year when more great players join? Or the following year? At some point they will care and will have to answer to sponsors and television. FAAFO.”

The abbreviation is slang for "(Expletive) around and find out.” The next day, Talor Gooch and David Puig were among LIV players to accept invitations to the PGA Championship.

It wasn’t all saucy.

LIV announced that longtime Pepsi executive Adam Harter would be its new chief marketing officer. That follows appointments of a chief financial officer, two executive vice presidents and two other hires.

It certainly doesn’t sound as though LIV Golf is going anywhere.

GOOD TIMING FOR LPGA

A deal announced six months ago is paying dividends for the LPGA Tour this week.

ESPN+ and the LPGA signed a two-year agreement for eight tournaments to be streamed live through the 2025 season. In a fortuitous turn of events, one of those tournaments is the Cognizant Founders Cup.

Attention figures to be high as Nelly Korda tries to set the LPGA Tour record with six straight victories. Her victory in the Chevron Championship three weeks ago tied the mark shared by Nancy Lopez and Annika Sorenstam.

Golf Channel typically provides LPGA coverage. But the PGA Tour has two tournaments (Wells Fargo Championship and Myrtle Beach), and the PGA Tour Champions has a major championship (Regions Tradition).

The Cognizant Cup originally was scheduled to be shown on tape delay (7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weeknights, 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on the weekend). Now it will be available on the NBC Sports App and Peacock.

ESPN+ will stream nearly 40 hours of featured group coverage, from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the weekday rounds, then from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekend. Amy Rogers is leading the all-female primary broadcast team.

ABERG OUT

The next signature event on the PGA Tour will be without the Masters champion and the runner-up. Scottie Scheffler never planned to play the Wells Fargo Championship because his wife is due to give birth to their first child. The surprise was Ludvig Aberg.

The rising star from Sweden announced Monday he was withdrawing, releasing limited details except to say he has a “knee issue” that requires rest.

“After consulting with my doctors, we think it’s best that I take some additional time to rest,” Aberg said in a statement, adding that he looked forward to playing in the PGA Championship at Valhalla next week.

He is not being replaced at Quail Hollow because Peter Malnati would be next in line among the top 10 available in the FedEx Cup, and Malnati already is eligible as a PGA Tour winner this year. That leaves a 69-man field — meaning someone will go off as a single — for the third consecutive signature event.

TGL BY THE BAY

San Francisco’s four-man team for the tech-driven TGL league has a basketball background for a golf squad from all over the world.

Former Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry’s Avenue Sports Fund owns The Bay Golf Club, along with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala, two current and one retired Golden State Warriors players.

The roster features Ludvig Aberg of Sweden, Shane Lowry of Ireland, Min Woo Lee of Australia and Wyndham Clark of Denver.

All the matches will be played in Florida at an indoor arena that will be ready for the January launch at SoFi Center. The indoor league, to be broadcast in prime time on ESPN and ESPN+, was delayed a year when an inflatable roof collapsed.

“We believe that The Bay Golf Club will be a beloved team in Northern California and beyond,” Lasry said.

TGL is the creation of TMRW Sports launched by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy.

SIMPSON BENEFITS

Webb Simpson is playing his eighth tournament of the year at the Wells Fargo Championship, four of them by getting a sponsor exemption to the $20 million signature events.

It’s easy to suggest it’s a perk from serving on the PGA Tour board. Simpson got an exemption to the Arnold Palmer Invitational (he’s a former Palmer/Buddy Worsham scholarship recipient at Wake Forest), RBC Heritage (past champion from 2020) and the Wells Fargo Championship (he’s a member at Quail Hollow).

The suspect exemption was from the AT&T Pebble Beach, especially when Gary Woodland did not get one as he recovers from brain surgery and won his U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

But there’s no doubting the potential benefit, even without finishing better than 30th.

Simpson has made the cut in three regular tournaments, earning $63,606 (19 FedEx Cup points). In the three signature events with small fields, he has made $270,125 (74 FedEx Cup points).

He is No. 151 in the FedEx Cup standings.

DIVOTS

Ashley Shaw, a 15-year-old amateur from Arizona, makes her LPGA debut this week in the Cognizant Founders Cup. She won the John Shippen Cognizant Cup on Monday at Upper Montclair to earn a spot in the field. The John Shippen series was created to provide playing opportunities on the LPGA and PGA Tour for top Black golfers. ... The most recent stretch of the Aon Swing Five for signature events was heavily weighted toward the last tournament. So it's no surprise that the top three players from the CJ Cup Byron Nelson — Taylor Pendrith, Ben Kohles and Alex Noren — moved into the top five on the list and earned a spot in the Wells Fargo Championship. Chad Ramey and Martin Trainer, who lost in a playoff at the team event in New Orleans, got bumped out. ... The Women's Scottish Open returns to Dundonald Links, about 20 minutes from Royal Troon, for the third straight year on Aug. 15-18. ... Aaron Rai closed with a 64 in the Byron Nelson, which moved him to No. 69 in the PGA Championship Points list and assured his spot at Valhalla.

STAT OF THE WEEK

Taylor Pendrith became the fifth player this year to be outside the top 100 in the world ranking when he won a PGA Tour event with full FedEx Cup points.

FINAL WORD

“The pure enjoyment that you get from having kids, there is nothing like it. The stress that you get from having kids, there is nothing like it.” — Jason Day, a former world No. 1 and father of five.

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf