Tiger Woods addressed the media ahead of his 2022 Hero World Challenge – where he withdrew due to plantar fasciitis – and was naturally peppered with questions regarding Greg Norman, LIV Golf and the future of professional golf itself.
The 15-time major champion didn’t hold back.
“I think (Greg Norman) has to go, first of all,” said Woods on Tuesday from Albany in the Bahamas, “and then obviously the litigation against us and then our countersuit against them. Those would then have to be at a stay as well, then we can talk, we can all talk freely.”
“Right now as it is, not right now, not with their leadership, not with Greg there and his animosity towards the tour itself. I don’t see that happening,” said Woods of LIV and the PGA Tour coexisting. “But why would you change anything if you’ve got a lawsuit against you? They sued us first.”
Woods called the actions of some LIV players “tasteless” and echoed a previous statement from Rory McIlroy and even doubled and tripled down on the need for a change in LIV’s leadership. He also praised his TMRW Sports co-founder and The Match partner for how he took charge in the Tour’s battle with LIV.
“What Rory has said and done are what leaders do. Rory is a true leader out here on Tour. The fact that he’s actually able to get the things he said out in the public eye, be so clear minded with it and so eloquent with it, meanwhile go out there and win golf tournaments on top of that, people have no idea how hard that is to do, to be able to separate those two things,” said Woods. “Everyone respects him and they respect him because not just his ball-striking, his driving, but the person he is.”
Despite the jabs from both sides of the professional golf aisle, Woods still believes there’s a window of opportunity for both tours to compromise, “but I think that window’s closing.”
Backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, LIV Golf has long been criticized as a way for the Kingdom to sportswash its human rights record with guaranteed money and multi-million dollar deals. Woods freely admitted the Tour “can’t compete dollar for dollar with the PIF,” but did highlight what the Tour can offer in return.
“What we can do is talk about better opportunities for younger players getting onto the Tour, what it means to play the Tour, how important it is, how important it is to have a legacy, be able to win major championships,” said Woods. ” … but the other players don’t. They’re taking a chance of never ever, ever getting a chance to play in major championships. And so where does your legacy stand there? You know, I went on the tour and made a lot of money, but I never got to win any tournaments that are of value that would put me in the Hall of Fame and things of that nature.”
“It’s an endless pit of money. But that doesn’t necessarily create legacies either,” Woods said of LIV and the PIF. “You want to compare yourself to Hogan, you want to compare yourself to Snead, you want to compare yourself to Nicklaus, you can’t do that over there, but you can on this Tour.”
Story Credit: usatoday.com