Greg Norman said Tuesday that he will not be attending this year’s QBE Shootout, the event he founded in Naples more than three decades ago.
In an Instagram post, Norman wrote that he was asked not to attend the tournament he hosts and has played in every year since its inception in 1989. While the golf legend did not specify who requested to skip the event, he did say which was for his involvement with LIV Golf, the controversial Saudi-funded alternative to the PGA Tour that began its inaugural season this year.
“In some people’s minds, this is too disturbing and evolution is perceived as a bad thing,” Norman wrote.
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QBE Shootout tournament director Rob Hartman said event organizers have been in talks with Norman about his role as QBE host for months and all parties made a collective decision not to have Norman attend.
“As we got closer, the decision was finally made that I was going to step back and really let the focus remain on our tremendous charitable partners,” Hartman said. “When this event started 34 years ago, it was all about charity then and it’s about charity now. Greg just made the decision that he didn’t want anything to distract him.”
According to the Shootout website, the tournament has raised more than $15 million for charity, most notably for CureSearch for Children’s Cancer.
Norman said in his post that he made the decision not to attend the QBE “so that the focus can remain on the missions at hand.”
“To the Shootout Charities, the City of Naples, and all of the incredible Shootout volunteers, corporate sponsors, fans, and staff, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued good work and support,” Norman wrote. “I will miss seeing all of you this year, but I will certainly be there in spirit.”
Several PGA golfers who have played on the QBE, including 2021 champions Jason Kokrak and Kevin Na, have joined the LIV Tour, making them ineligible to play in PGA Tour-affiliated events, including the QBE.
Hartman said QBE’s 24-player field will be announced in mid-October. The QBE Shootout is scheduled to be played December 7-11 at Tiburon Golf Club.
“I hope we certainly get some fresh new faces in Napoli, but a quality field, top to bottom once again,” Hartman said.
“Things are in a great place; We are expecting to have a great event. We’re all looking forward to December and putting a big number on the board from a charitable perspective.”
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The story originally appeared on GolfWeek