Greg Norman said Tuesday he will not attend this year's QBE Shootout, the event he founded more than three decades ago and has been played in Naples since 2001.
In an Instagram post, Norman wrote he was asked not to attend the tournament he has hosted and played in every year since its inception in 1989. While the golf legend did not specify who requested he skip the event, he said it was because of his involvement with LIV Golf, the controversial alternative to the PGA Tour funded by Saudi Arabia that began its inaugural season this year.
"In some people’s mind(s) this is too disruptive and evolution is perceived as a bad thing," Norman wrote.
QBE Shootout tournament director Rob Hartman said event organizers have been in discussions with Norman about his role as QBE host for months and all parties made a collective decision for Norman not to attend.
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"As we got close, ultimately the decision was made that he was going to step back and really let the focus remain on our tremendous charitable partners," Hartman said. "When he started this event 34 years ago, it was all about charity then and it's all about charity now. Greg just made the decision that he didn't want anything to distract from that."
According to the Shootout's 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 the focus can remain on the missions at hand."
"To the Shootout charities, the City of Naples and to all of the incredible volunteers, corporate sponsors, fans and Shootout staff, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued good work and support," Norman wrote. "I will miss seeing you all this year but I will certainly be there in spirit."
A number of PGA golfers who have played in the QBE, including 2021 champions Jason Kokrak and Kevin Na, have joined the LIV Tour, which makes them ineligible to play in PGA Tour-affiliated events, including the QBE.
Hartman said the QBE's 24-player field will be announced in mid-October. The QBE Shootout is scheduled to be played Dec. 7-11 at Tiburon Golf Club.
"I expect we'll certainly have some new, fresh faces in Naples but a quality field, top to bottom once again," Hartman said.
"Things are in a great place; we're expecting to have a really great event. We're all really looking forward to December and putting a big number on the board from a charitable perspective."
Connect with Dan DeLuca: @News-PressDan (Twitter), email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Naples Daily News: LIV Golf's Greg Norman asked not to attend QBE Shootout he founded