Two-time major winner Greg Norman has been appointed chief executive of the Saudi Arabia-backed company ©Getty Images

Two-time major winner Greg Norman has been appointed to head up the Saudi Arabian-backed company which is leading a controversial overhaul of golf tournaments in Asia.

Norman, a former world number one, has been named chief executive of LIV Golf Enterprises.

The majority shareholder of the newly-formed company is the Private Investment Fund (PIF), which operates on behalf of the Saudi Government and recently bankrolled the takeover of English Premier League club Newcastle United.

LIV Golf Enterprises is set to inject around $200 million (£146 million/€173 million) into 10 new Asian Tour events that will be held over the next decade.

It is thought to be a first step towards a "golf super league", a project which Saudi Arabia and the PIF is likely to fund.

The events will be played across Asia, the Middle East and Europe from next year, joining existing Asian Tour tournaments to form a 25-competition season.

"LIV Golf Investments has secured a major capital commitment that will be used to create new opportunities across worldwide professional golf," Norman said.

"I am happy to partner with this group of investors to bring the significant resources to bear that are necessary for the fundamental changes required for the greater good of the sport.

"This is only the beginning."

Saudi Arabia is stepping up its venture into golf by backing an overhaul of the Asian Tour ©Getty Images
Saudi Arabia is stepping up its venture into golf by backing an overhaul of the Asian Tour ©Getty Images

Amnesty International has criticised the deal, claiming it is another "brazen" attempt by a country "spraying its money around in an attempt to sportswash its appalling human rights record."

"It’s no coincidence that Saudi Arabia’s aggressive move into sport - with major boxing bouts, glitzy golf tours and new football club ownership - has come at a time when Saudi human rights defenders have been jailed, when Saudi missiles have killed thousands of Yemeni civilians, and when Jamal Khashoggi was hacked into pieces in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul," said Amnesty International UK’s chief executive Sacha Deshmukh.

"Sportswashing wasn’t invented by Saudi Arabia but under Mohammed bin Salman the country is now almost without equal in its brazen efforts to use the glamour and razzamatazz of sport to rebrand itself and distract attention from its human rights record.

"Golfers tempted to play in these tournaments ought to take the time to consider the dynamics of sportswashing and how they might break its spell by speaking out about human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia."