Shark swimming backwards in LIV Golf’s torrent of self-adulation

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A bit over a decade ago, an American writer by the name of Justin Halpern started a Twitter feed called “Sh*t My Dad Says” that quickly turned into a book of that same name which went to #1 on The New York Times bestsellers list.

These few quotes will allow you to savour the flavour:

“You’re like a tornado of bullshit right now. We’ll talk again when your bullshit dies out over someone else’s house.”

“Your penis betrayed you, son. Made you think stupid. It won’t be the last time that happens.”

You get the drift.

With a nod to Halpern, this week we are looking at “Sh*t that Greg Norman says”, when it comes to LIV golf, which is debuting in Australia this week at some Adelaide club.

Greg Norman, Cameron Smith and South Australian premier Peter Malinauskas on Thursday.Credit: Getty

“It’s incredible the amount of players who want to come on board,” Norman said of potential LIV recruits. “It would surprise you how good those names are.”

Yes, Greg, just incredible, isn’t it? Sure, there’s some big names there, but beyond them? I mean who would have thought that for those struggling on the PGA Tour, the LIV thing would be attractive? I mean, is it not just amazing that the also-rans who haven’t had a win for yonks, would start scratching at your door in the hope of getting millions to sign on, and then mucho moolah more, just for playing in every tournament with your great brand-new system of “Step right up, step right up, everyone gets a prize!” Just incredible they want a part of that.

“Golf is a force for good. I’ve been involved with golf, like I said, as a player, as well as golf course design. I’ve built some golf courses in third-world countries. I’ve built golf courses in Communist countries.”

Mighty big of you, Tex. Do you think you might be a chance for a Nobel Peace Prize this year?

“[Golf] goes everywhere with the right platform because it delivers the right message, from education to hospitality to employment to tourism. Everywhere you go, golf is a force for good.”

Greg, get a grip. LIV – specifically designed, so the Saudi regime can do “sportswashing” to cleanse itself of the oceans of blood spilt to maintain its power – is the exemplar of how your claim is complete nonsense.

“Nope, I have not,” Norman said in Adelaide when asked if he had spoken to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, about human rights abuses. “I’m the chairman and CEO of LIV Golf Investments, and that’s where I focus. I focus on golf. I stay focused on golf.”

Of course you do, Greg. Because to focus on the murders, tortures and human rights abuses would surely make it difficult for even you to sleep, yes? You may blather all you like about the great new competition. No one is fooled, as witnessed by LIV’s abysmal ratings in America. Everyone knows what it is about, and most have turned away accordingly.

Cameron Smith tees off in Adelaide.Credit: Getty

“Look what Kerry Packer did with cricket. God bless him. He sits on my right shoulder every day, trust me, every day. He goes: ‘Son, you’re doing a good bloody job’.”

It is a false equivalence, and you know it. Packer made a serious business move to fill a gap in the market, and made billions out of it. He was not putting billions towards sportswashing atrocities. Cam Smith is on a reported $150 million or so. Does anyone claim that LIV will make $151 million or more from him? Please.

Friends? There’ll be more, certainly. But for the moment, that is this week’s report of “Sh*t that Greg Norman says.”

We now resume our normal programming.

Cathy Freeman with her gold medal in 2000.Credit: Rick Stevens

The Cathy Freeman Stand: Let’s make it happen

Bring it in tight. Particularly you, regular Herald commenter Florence of Firenze. This week NSW Premier Chris Minns announced a plan to name the new grandstand at the Olympic stadium after an Australian sportswoman.

“Celebrating Australia’s greatest female athletes was one of our election commitments that I am proud we can take swift action on,” he said. “I want to encourage everyone to jump online and have their say.”

I thought he’d never ask. Several names have been bandied about, including Shane Gould, Sally Pearson, Jess Fox, Sam Kerr, Emma McKeon, Steph Gilmore and Margaret Court. Let’s have a quick look at those names.

Olympic legend Emma McKeon.Credit: Getty

Margaret Court. That’s no. I frankly cannot believe that those who propose her are serious. There is no doubt as to her credentials as an athlete. But at a time when there is a growing push to change the name of the Margaret Court Arena at the Melbourne Tennis Centre on the grounds of her antediluvian homophobia and general spouting of gibberish, the idea that Sydney would so honour her is absurd. So the answer is no, no, no, a thousand times no.

Sally Pearson. Great athlete, wonderful career, fine Australian. But for all of her stature, it is too soon to even contemplate so honouring her. The nature of such honours is that they are only done in the fullness of time, and she only retired four years ago. Double ditto, Jess Fox and Emma McKeon, and Sam Kerr who are still at the crest of their careers!

Shane Gould. Love her! But I am alone in thinking a swimming pool named after her would be closer to the mark, rather than a stand at the athletics track?

Marjorie Jackson. I was in touch with the Lithgow Flash just last month and even well into her 90s she is going strong and has been no less an ambassador for sport in her retirement as she was at its height – including becoming the Governor of South Australia.

Betty Cuthbert in 1956.Credit: Fairfax

Betty Cuthbert. The late, great Betty was the breakout star of the Melbourne Olympics in 1956, and grew up in the suburb of Ermington, just across the Parramatta River from the Olympic Stadium. She is another top contender for the honour, but . . .

In my view, none get close to the woman the new stand should be named after.

Cathy Freeman. Yes, she was born and raised in Queensland, but that is not her fault! The main thing is she moved away as soon as she was able. Far more important is her significance in Australian sporting history and it happened at that very stadium, which she owned, twice! First, was when she had the supreme honour of lighting the Olympic cauldron to begin the 2000 Olympic Games. A week later, of course, she won the 400m, likely the most significant sporting moment in Australian history, with only the America’s Cup win in 1983 able to argue the toss.

Bulldogs boss and Channel Nine commentator Phil Gould.Credit: Getty

It wasn’t just an athletic feat. It was a moment that brought the nation together, a young Aboriginal woman bringing the nation together at a time with that victory when national healing from our troubled past was again on the agenda. And I repeat: it happened right there, at that very stadium. It is a no-brainer. The Cathy Freeman Stand it must be.

Keen to eat, talk, laugh? Here’s one for you

Meantime? Meantime, friends, we still have a very few seats available for our Cauliflower Club lunch at the Fullerton Hotel on May 5, One For The Old Days, boasting the Wallaby World Cup Captains from 1991 and 1999, Nick Farr-Jones and John Eales. And for once, this is not desperate marketing spin – we actually have nudging 400 coming, but want more! Auction items include return Business Class tickets to Europe during Rugby World Cup, kindly donated by Qantas! Come!

What They Said

A report on“Whether pounding the league on concussion, slamming the schedule or just proverbially slashing the tyres of referees, at times [Phil] Gould’s unflinching contempt for rugby league can appear almost Victorian – and sometimes even PeterFitzsimian.” By Gawd, I RESEMBLE that remark! But I must severely correct you, Dane Eldridge – yes, I will name and shame – on your egregious, outrageous characterisation. It is FitzSimian with a capital “S”. Thank you.

Sam Kerr on getting Chelsea into the FA Cup final: “It feels good. That was a tough game. It feels good to get the win, back to Wembley.”

Human Rights Watch researcher Joey Shea: “Saudi Arabia has experienced one of its worst periods for human rights in its modern history. Last year in March, we saw the largest single day execution in recent history. 81 people were executed in Saudi Arabia in a single day. We really see LIV Golf as a major sports washing attempt by Saudi Arabia to cover up its egregious abuses.”

Wayne Carey, with too much information: “I used to bawl my eyes out, on the first day at school I pooed my pants, I went home with it, I didn’t clean it at school, it went really stale.”

Novak Djokovic: “I would love to coach Nick Kyrgios. He would win five Slams with me, but it would not come cheap.”

Craig Bellamy unimpressed that his players were more interested in winning the fight against Manly than the game: “Especially our second half was really poor, we didn’t play too smart at all . . . I don’t know what planet they’re on, you just can’t do that these days. You can’t hit ball players and halves late with any force at all and that’s what it is and to do that, we played half of the second half with 12 men.”

Wayne Bennett on how NRL clubs hire new coaches: “The interview process is bullshit. There’s more coaches out there that can talk a good game than coach a good game. Make that your headline. They are talking to people on boards who have no idea about coaching. They come and they spin this great yarn and they sound like they are a genius. That’s how they sell themselves. When it gets onto the field, they can’t deliver.” Yup. They call it “giving great interview”.

Nicho Hynes making his intentions clear: “I hate Queensland; Queensland is the only thing I hate in life when Origin time is on. It’s a good state for its beaches, but at Origin time I hate it.”

Tampa Bay Ray Taylor Walls after their 13-game win streak to start the season was followed by two losses: “We hate losing, probably more than we like winning.”

Stephen Hendry on the Just Stop Oil protester who stormed the World Snooker Championships and threw orange powder all over one of the tables: “For me, straight away as a snooker player I am thinking: ‘Is the table recoverable?’ We don’t know what that is on the table.”

Rugby player Josh Flook on meeting Eddie Jones for the first time: “I’ll just try and start with a good handshake, I think. Just go off the [cuff]. Hopefully have a little conversation with him, at some point over these next couple of days. But try and start with a good handshake.”

Buffalo Bill Damar Hamlin cleared to return to the NFL four months after he collapsed in the middle of a game: “The ‘wow’ moment is every day just being able to wake up and just take deep breaths and live a peaceful life, to have a family and people that are around me that love me. They almost lost me. Like, I died on national TV, you know what I mean?”

Fans salute Hamlin at Buffalo’s home ground before the win over the Patriots.Credit: AP

Team of the Week

Sam Kerr. Helped lead Chelsea into the FA Cup final where they will play Manchester United.

Grace Kim. Aussie rookie finished with three straight birdies to claim her maiden LPGA tour victory at the LOTTE Championship in Hawaii.

Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory. Play later today to meet Western United in next week’s W League Grand Final.

Geelong. Despite much gloom and doom after three losses to start the season, with two wins since, they’ve shot up to 10th and take on the Swans later today.

Waratahs. Had a win last week! And take on the Blues later today in Auckland.

South Australia. Hosted a great “Gather Round” – which I gather is their answer to the NRL’s Magic Round – and getting it back for another three years.

Jalen Hurts. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback signed a five-year, $255 million (A$380m) contract extension.

Arjun Tendulkar. Son of Sachin made his IPL debut. They’re the first father-son duo to play in the IPL.

RIP Aunty Faith Thomas. The first Aboriginal woman to play Test cricket for Australia, passed away at the weekend aged 90. In the process became the first Indigenous woman to represent an Australian sports team.

Twitter: @Peter_Fitz

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