Tiger Woods – ‘Just don’t understand’ how LIV players could give up playing in major championships

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Tiger Woods blew up LIV Golf during a press conference at the 150th Open Championship in St. Andrews on Tuesday, delivering his harshest criticism yet of PGA Tour players who have been hit by lucrative bonuses on those of Saudi Arabia funded race track were lured.

In some cases, high-profile players such as former Major champions Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka have received more than $100 million in guaranteed deals from the new circuit, which is spearheaded by two-time Open winner Greg Norman.

“I don’t agree with that,” Woods said. “I think they have turned their backs on what allowed them to get to that position.”

Woods, a 15-time major champion, also wondered how players could jeopardize their chances of making it to major championships. The LIV Golf Invitational Series is not yet recognized by the official world golf rankings, so its players have not received world points for their first two events in London and Portland, Oregon.

“Who knows what will happen in the near future to world ranking points, the criteria for entering major championships,” said Woods. “The governing body needs to sort that out.

“Some of these players may never get the chance to play in major championships. That’s a possibility. We don’t know that yet. It’s up to all major championship bodies to make that decision. But it’s a possibility.” that some players will never get a chance to play in a major championship, never get a chance to experience this, walking down the Augusta National fairways. I just don’t understand that for myself.

Woods, whose three Open Championship wins include victories on the Old Course in 2000 and 2005, said he supports the R&A’s decision not to invite Norman to St Andrews to celebrate the 150th Open. In a statement, the R&A said it wanted to avoid distractions during the week of celebrations.

“The R&A obviously have their opinions and their judgments and their decisions,” Woods said. “Greg has done some things that I believe are not in the best interest of our game and we are returning to what is probably the most historic and storied place in our sport. I think it’s the right thing to do.”

On Monday, the PGA Tour confirmed that the U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the tour’s handling of players who threatened to go to LIV Golf and whether the tour’s requirements for members, conflicting event clearances for attendance to have at other events constitutes anti-competitive behavior.

Two players’ agents confirmed to ESPN that they had been contacted by the DOJ regarding their clients’ willingness to be questioned by federal attorneys. It’s just the latest development in a rift that has engulfed the sport this season.

“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 career and deserve what we get and the trophies to play for and the history, that was there was part of that game,” Woods said.

“I know Greg tried 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 that’s in the best interest of the game. What the European Tour and what the PGA Tour stands for and what they have done and also all the governing bodies of the game of golf and all the major championships how they govern it. I think they see it differently than what Greg sees it.

Woods, who will be playing only his third official tournament since he was seriously injured in a car accident outside of Los Angeles in February 2021, played nine more practice holes Tuesday morning. He has now completed 58 holes since arriving at St Andrews on Saturday.

Though the Old Course isn’t as hilly as Augusta National, where he returned to competitive golf at the Masters in April, or Southern Hills, home of the PGA Championship in May, Woods said it was still a tough road for him to follow at his surgical repaired right leg.

“It’s still not easy,” Woods said. “Admittedly, the inclines are in no way steep. They’re not – the gradients aren’t steep. But it’s the bumps that are still difficult for me. I have a lot of hardware in my leg. That’s what it is. It will be difficult.”

Woods said he plans to practice Wednesday but will not be running any more holes. He tees off in the first round Thursday at 9:59 a.m. ET with US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick and Max Homa. They begin round two on Friday at 4:58 p.m. ET. The quick turnaround won’t be easy on Woods’ body either.

“Yes, the walk is certainly a lot easier than the two championships I competed in prior to this year,” Woods said. “I can run a lot more holes. Also, I’ve gotten a lot stronger since then. I’m spending more time now that I have the chance to work in the weight room and get stronger and the endurance better in my leg.”

At least one other player in the field, 2014 Open winner Rory McIlroy, believes Woods could be in the hunt for another Claret Jug, especially with the wind howling further off the North Sea. McIlroy played four holes with Woods at Monday’s Celebration of Champions and said he was moving “better than I’ve seen him in a while”.

“I think the way the golf course is and the conditions are, I could definitely see it,” McIlroy said. “This week it’s going to be a game of chess, and no one has been better at playing that kind of chess game on a golf course than Tiger in the last 20 years.”

Less than 17 months after his car accident, after which Woods said surgeons almost decided to amputate his right leg, he’s just happy to be playing golf again.

“For most of my rehab I was just hoping I could walk, you know, walk normally and live a normal life and maybe play a little bit of golf with my son or my friends at home,” Woods said. “But lo and behold, I played championship golf this year. And when I realized I could potentially play at a high level, my focus was on getting back here to St Andrews to play in what I said is the most historic championship we’ve ever had.

“I just didn’t want to miss this Open here in the home of golf.”

https://www.espn.com/golf/story/_/id/34230611/tiger-woods-says-just-understand-how-liv-players-give-chance-play-major-championship Tiger Woods – ‘Just don’t understand’ how LIV players could give up playing in major championships

Emma Bowman

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