Senior official Ron Cross has been removed from his position at LIV Golf.
Cross was one of LIV Golf’s first hires in the fall of 2021, serving as the chief events officer for the Saudi-backed circuit. Sources told Golf Digest that Cross was integral in securing tournament sites and piecing together a schedule for LIV. Cross’ vision was for LIV events to have a connective tissue rather than feel like one-off competitions.
“The way I would look at it,” Cross told Golf Digest last year, “we’ve compared ourselves to, and others have compared ourselves to, the Formula 1 model. When you go to an F1 race, it’s a consistent look and feel. But Austin has some uniqueness. And Monaco is a little different from Spain, and other markets. You’ll find us doing the same thing.”
Before his time with LIV Golf, Cross was an executive for the PGA Tour and Augusta National. Cross was credited for his work with the Player’s Championship and President’s Cup, along with bringing ANGC-led initiatives like the Latin America Amateur Championship to fruition.
Cross’ ousting was first reported by Sports Illustrated, with a LIV source confirming the news to Golf Digest. “I am sincerely thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of launching LIV Golf,” Cross told SI. “While surprised in the change in direction at this time, I remain incredibly proud of the job being done by my event delivery colleagues, LIV Golf team members, the players, caddies, venue, and vendor partners to make LIV Golf a tremendous experience and wish them all the best for continued success.”
Cross’ removal is among a number of high-profile exits from LIV leadership over the past year. In January Majed Al Sorour, LIV Golf managing director and Golf Saudi CEO, transitioned from an administrative role with the breakaway circuit. Al Sorour was considered the second-in-command at LIV behind only Aramco chairman and PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan. Atul Khosla, chief operating officer of LIV and considered one of the voices of reason inside LIV, had left the previous month. Matt Goodman, president of LIV franchises, also left LIV following its first year.
“Ron Cross played an important role in the launch of LIV Golf and the establishment of our tournaments,” a LIV Golf spokesperson said in a statement. “We are grateful for his contributions. The success of LIV events has always been rooted in our ability to evolve and do things differently and we remain committed to those fundamental ideas going forward.”
The move comes two months after the PGA Tour’s surprise agreement with LIV’s backer, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, to form a new for-profit entity. In the framework agreement between the tour and PIF, LIV’s future is only broadly outlined. LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman has been telling LIV players and staff members that LIV Golf will return for 2024 and beyond, but there is no guarantee the circuit will continue, and Norman is not mentioned anywhere in the agreement. The new entity formed by the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and PIF will, however, “undertake a full and objective empirical data-driven evaluation of LIV and its prospects and potential and will make a good faith assessment of the benefits of team golf in general, and PIF, the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour will work together in an effort to determine how best to integrate team golf into PGA Tour and DP World Tour events going forward.”
LIV will play its 10th event of its 14-tournament schedule this week at the Greenbrier in West Virginia.