LIV Golf chief Greg Norman compared to Al Capone as Saudi-led breakaway uses the dark arts

PGA Tour suspends players participating in LIV Golf series

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LIV series chief Greg Norman has been compared to Al Calpone by Phil Mickelson’s biographer, who was ejected from a press conference at the inuagural event in Hertforshire. US journalist Alan Shipnuck was booted out for asking hard-hitting questions about the Saudi-backed rebel circuit. The Express has reached out to LIV series for comment.

Shipnuck went another step further by tweeting an image of the Australian lurking in the background watching sternly as security forcibly removed him from the scene at the Centurion Club. The experienced reporter, who has covered golf for a quarter of a century, went on to compare Norman with the famous American gangster when recalling his heavy-handed experience with security. He then posted a photo of Norman witnessing the incident after the 67-year-old denied knowing what took place.

“Well, a couple of neckless security dudes just physically removed me from Phil Mickelson’s press conference, saying they were acting on orders from their boss, whom they refused to name. (Greg Norman? MBS? Al Capone?),” Shipnuck wrote on Twitter. MBS’ refers to Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been accused of ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi four years ago.

He then went on to share his texts with two-time Open champion Norman, saying: “You cannot make this s*** up! I texted Greg Norman before someone sent me this video – I had no idea he was lurking behind me.”

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The journalist was removed from a press conference involving Phil Mickelson. He revealed the now six-time major winner’s infamous comments about the Saudi backers of the new breakaway tour, where he described them as ‘scary motherf***ers’ earlier this year. “I have no ill will toward Phil,” Shipnuck later told Golfweek after his ejection. “I just wanted to ask him one boring golf question, which is my job. Either he is being way too sensitive or the LIV folks are being too overprotective but, either way, they are overreacting.

“The security guards were inappropriately aggressive and physical, considering I was just standing there trying to make sense of the bizarre reasons they were citing for wanting to remove me. This whole situation is messy and ridiculous. If I have another boring golf question for Phil I’ll ask it because I did fly 6,000 miles to be here and I’m not inclined to be silenced by Greg Norman and his goons. Or maybe I’ll just focus on Chantananuwat Ratchanon… he seems like a nice kid.”

Shipnuck’s removal came just two days after another journalist was prevented from asking golfers about Saudi Arabian sportswashing before the LIV series began. Players still on the PGA Tour have expressed their disappointment with their colleagues who defected to the controversial circuit.

Reigning US PGA champion Justin Thomas is sad to see his colleagues make the switch, but understands that they are entitled to their decision. “I wish that he and others wouldn’t have done it, but that’s their decision,” the reigning US PGA Champion said. “I’ve said it all along, it’s like guys can do as they wish. If they want to go they can go, if they want to stay they can stay.

“Selfishly, I think and I know that the PGA Tour is the best place to play in the world and it’s just the decision is theirs and it is what it is. But I just, I wish that it would take away or I wish it wouldn’t be taking away from the great storylines and things that are going on on a Tour that’s been around for a very long time and is in one of the best places it’s ever been. It’s just a bummer that those guys won’t be a part of it.”

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