Tiger Woods To Rally Support For PGA Tour Amid LIV's Emergence: Report
By Jason Hall
August 16, 2022
Tiger Woods is reportedly set to meet with several top golfers in an effort to rally support for the PGA Tour amid the ongoing emergence of the rival LIV Golf series, sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed to ESPN on Monday (August 15).
The reported meeting is set to take place at the BMW Championship in Wilmington, Delaware, the host site of the second FedEx Cup playoff event, on Tuesday (August 16), two days before the tournament kicks off on Thursday (August 18).
A PGA golfer who was invited to the meeting told ESPN that many of the top 20 players in the world and other non-LIV affiliated influential PGA Tour members have been included in plans for the meeting, which will take place shortly after the PGA Tour Player Advisory Council meeting at the Wilmington Country Club ahead of the weekend's tournament.
"It's a meeting to get the top 20 players in the world on the same page on how we can continue to make the PGA Tour the best product in professional golf," an invited player told ESPN on Monday.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan is already scheduled to lead another meeting with tour members on Wednesday (August 17), sources with knowledge confirmed to ESPN.
Earlier this month, LIV Tour CEO Greg Norman said Woods turned down a contract "in the neighborhood of" $700 million and $800 million to join the emerging league during an appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight.
"That number was out there before I became CEO," Norman said when asked by Carlson if the reported offer range was true. "Look, Tiger is a needle mover, right? So, of course you're got to look at the best of the best. They had originally approached Tiger before I became CEO, so yes. That number is somewhere in that neighborhood."
Woods, a 15-time major champion, has publicly supported the PGA Tour in its ongoing battle with LIV Golf to keep the best golfers in the world, but also showed his support of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of Saint Andrews' decision to invite Norman, a two-time winner of the Open championship, to the 150th celebration of the event last month, despite his ties to the controversial league.
"The R&A obviously have their opinions and their rulings and their decision," Woods said via ESPN. "Greg has done some things that I don't think is in the best interest of our game, and we're coming back to probably the most historic and traditional place in our sport. I believe it's the right thing."
Woods was also critical of players who left the PGA Tour in order to join LIV Golf, which has controversial ties to the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.
Several of golf's biggest names, including Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, have all signed multiyear deals with LIV Golf, which offers guaranteed contracts ranging between $100 million and $200 million.
"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."
In June, the PGA Tour suspended all 17 members who competed in the inaugural LIV Golf event, according to a copy of a memo announcing the punishment to players shared by Front Office Sports ahead of the event on June 9.
The announced disciplinary action came just as the 17 PGA members and former members hit their opening tee shots in the inaugural event, which was held at Centurion Club outside of London.
Earlier this month, 11 golfers suspended by the PGA Tour for joining LIV Golf filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour, which includes three golfers seeking a temporary restraining order from a federal judge to compete in the FedEx Cup Playoffs later this month, ESPN reports.
The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California seeks permission for Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones to be allowed to compete in the upcoming playoff events, despite having been among the golfers suspended by the PGA Tour for joining LIV earlier this summer.
"The punishment that would accrue to these players from not being able to play in the FedEx Cup Playoffs is substantial and irreparable and a temporary restraining order is needed to prevent the irreparable harm that would ensue were they not to be able to participate," an attorney representing the golfers in the lawsuit stated via ESPN.
Other plaintiffs identified in the lawsuit include Mickelson, DeChambeau, Carlos Ortiz, Ian Poulter, Peter Uihlein, Jason Kokrak, Pat Perez and Abraham Ancer.