Open Championship 2022: Tiger Woods sounds on LIV Golf | Golf News and Tour Information
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Tiger Woods is firmly against LIV Golf. It’s no surprise, of course. He said it a few times before the Open Championship this week, and he was instrumental…the integral role?— making the PGA Tour what it is today.
And yet, given the setting and the context – at the Home of Golf, for the 150th edition of the sport’s oldest championship, with LIV having two events under its belt and many big names on its payroll – Woods wanted to make get his message very clear Tuesday on the Old Course. He thinks it’s bad for golf and he can’t figure out which direction LIV wants to go.
“I don’t agree,” Woods said of the players’ decision to sign with the Saudi-backed league, which has driven a wedge in men’s football by attracting top stars with huge guaranteed paydays. “I think what they’ve done is they’ve turned their backs on what got them into this position. … Some of these players may never get the chance to play in major leagues. It’s a possibility. We don’t know for sure yet. It is up to all the major organizations in the championship to make this decision.
“But it’s a possibility that some players will never, ever have the chance to play in a major championship, never have the chance to experience that here, to walk the fairways of Augusta National. That, for I just don’t understand it.
Woods’ measured rejection of the Greg Norman-directed series did not touch on ethical concerns about going into business with the Saudi government, which financially funds the venture. Which, of course, doesn’t mean he doesn’t care. But Woods is a first, second and third contender. He believes his extraordinary wealth only came as a byproduct of his success on the course, and he views LIV’s structure as essentially anti-competitive.
“What are these players doing for guaranteed money, what’s the incentive to practice?” Woods said. “What is the motivation to go out there and win in the mud? You just get paid a lot of money up front and play a few events and play 54 holes. They play loud music and have all these vibes that are different. I can understand that 54 holes is almost like a warrant when you get to the senior tour. The guys are a little older and a little bumpier. But when you’re at that young age and some of those kids—they’re really kids who have moved from amateur golf to this organization—72-hole testing is part of that. We used to have 36-hole playoffs for major championships. It was like that before, the 18-hole US Open qualifiers.
“I just don’t see how this decision is positive long-term for a lot of these players, especially if the LIV organization doesn’t get world ranking points and major leagues change their event entry criteria. It would be sad to see some of these young kids never get the chance to experience this and experience what we are blessed to experience and walk on these hallowed grounds and play in these championships.
“The R&A obviously has its opinions, its decisions and its decision,” Woods said. “Greg has done things that I don’t think are in the best interest of our game, and we’re probably going back to the most historic and traditional place in our sport. I believe that’s the right thing.
Woods continued: “I know what the PGA Tour stands for and what we’ve done and what the tour has given us – the ability to pursue our careers and win what we get and the trophies we’ve been able to play for. and the story that went into that game. I know Greg tried to do that in the early 90s. It didn’t work then, and he’s trying to make it work now. I still don’t see how it’s in the best interests of the game. What the European Tour and the PGA Tour stand for and what they’ve done and all the governing bodies of the game of golf and all the major championships, how they handle it. I think they see it differently than Greg sees it.
Despite his outright rejection of LIV, Woods said he’s optimistic about the game’s future.
“We’re in the biggest boom right now in golf because of COVID,” Woods said. “It has allowed us as a sport to get out and be outdoors and participate and be physically active and get out of the house without worrying about COVID.
“And so because of that, golf has had an incline and momentum that we’ve never seen before, and hopefully it will continue that way. There are so many new young golfers coming in. Look at the circuit, the average age is getting younger and younger, and they improve earlier and faster and they win at an earlier age I’ve always been told that you don’t reach your peak until the end of the 20s or early 30s, but now you see guys winning championships in their early 20s and doing so on a regular basis, so the game has gotten better, and it’s only going to keep getting better. we all understand that and that we continue to grow the game in a positive way.