Nicklaus claims he turned down huge offer to front Saudi-backed tour

Daniel Lewis
Stats Perform
17/05/202209:58
Jack Nicklaus has said he was offered a role with the breakaway competition
Jack Nicklaus has said he was offered a role with the breakaway competition

Jack Nicklaus has revealed he turned down an offer in excess of $100million to be the face of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.

The breakaway competition will stage its inaugural tournament at Centurion Club near London in June.

Greg Norman is fulfilling the role of chief executive of LIV Golf Investments, but Nicklaus has suggested he was the organisers' initial choice to front the rebel circuit.

"I was offered something in excess of $100m by the Saudis, to do the job probably similar to the one that Greg is doing," he told The Fire Pit Collective. 

"I turned it down. Once verbally, once in writing. I said, 'Guys, I have to stay with the PGA Tour. I helped start the PGA Tour'."

Phil Mickelson is among the players to have requested to play in the first LIV Golf event, which is worth a record $25m.

The six-time major winner has not played since February following the backlash to his controversial comments about the tour and Saudi Arabia's alleged human rights violations.

He was included in the field for this week's US PGA Championship in Oklahoma, but withdrew last week, meaning he will not get the chance to defend the title he won last year.

But Nicklaus, who played a key part in golf's first breakaway 54 years ago when the PGA Tour branched off from the PGA of America, believes there is a route back for Mickelson.

"My advice to Phil would be to be patient," he said.

"The world is a very forgiving place. But he's the one – he has to decide where he wants to play and what he wants to do."

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