Tiger Woods says he doesn’t understand why players would join LIV Golf
The 15-time major champion also supported the R&A’s decision to not invite Greg Norman to the Open Championship.
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Tiger Woods wouldn’t have invited Greg Norman to the 150th playing of the Open Championship at St. Andrews.
The 15-time major champion and three-time Champion Golfer of the Year agreed with the R&A’s decision to reach out to Norman, who is heading the Saudi Arabia-backed rival league called LIV Golf, to tell him his presence at the Celebration on Champions on Monday and the Champions’ Dinner on Tuesday was not welcomed. Norman did not journey to this seaside village.
“Greg has done some things that I don’t think (are) in the best interest of our game, and we’re coming back to probably the most historic and traditional place in our sport,” Woods said Tuesday after a practice round. “I believe it’s the right thing.
“I know what the PGA Tour stands for and what we have done and what the Tour has given us, the ability to chase after our careers and to earn what we get and the trophies we have been able to play for and the history that has been a part of this game. I know Greg tried to do this back in the early ‘90s. It didn’t work then, and he’s trying to make it work now.
“I still don’t see how that’s in the best interests of the game.”
LIV Golf has disrupted the golf world order just two events into its existence. With exorbitant signing bonuses — some as high as $200 million — and $25 million purses, LIV Golf has lured away some big names and players from the PGA Tour — Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia and many others.
LIV Golf will contest eight tournaments this year featuring team play, 54 holes, no cuts and shotgun starts.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan indefinitely banned players who jumped ship to LIV Golf from the Tour. This has led the Justice Department to investigate the PGA Tour for anti-competitive behavior and possible conspiracy to rig the Official World Golf Rankings against LIV Golf in its dealings with the league.
“About the players who have chosen to go to LIV, I disagree with it,” Woods said. “I think that what they’ve done is they’ve turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position. Some players have never got a chance to even experience it. They’ve gone right from the amateur ranks right into that organization and never really got a chance to play out here and what it feels like to play a Tour schedule or to play in some big events.
“And who knows what’s going to happen in the near future with world ranking points, the criteria for entering major championships. Some of these players may not ever get a chance to play in major championships. That is a possibility.”
It’s all very puzzling to Woods.
“I just don’t understand it. I understand what Jack (Nicklaus) and Arnold (Palmer) did because playing professional golf at a Tour level versus a club pro is different, and I understand that transition and that move and the recognition that a touring pro versus a club pro is,” he said. “But what these players are doing for guaranteed money, what is the incentive to practice? What is the incentive to go out there and earn it in the dirt? You’re just getting paid a lot of money upfront and playing a few events and playing 54 holes. They’re playing blaring music and have all these atmospheres that are different.
“I can understand 54 holes is almost like a mandate when you get to the (PGA Champions) Tour. The guys are a little bit older and a little more banged up. But when you’re at this young age and some of these kids – they really are kids who have gone from amateur golf into that organization – 72-hole tests are part of it,” Woods said. “I just don’t see how that move is positive in the long term for a lot of these players.”
Read more at usatoday.com