Tiger Woods blasts LIV golfers who ‘turned their backs’ on the sport choosing money over major championships

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — The one voice that has been somewhat absent from the week-to-week PGA Tour-LIV Golf conversation has been perhaps the most important voice in golf. Tiger Woods on Tuesday, ahead of the 150th Open Championship, delivered his longest and strongest rebuff to the Greg Norman-led, Saudi-backed league.

Interestingly, Woods’ reasoning was not focused on the PGA Tour, the league he has belonged to for more than a quarter of a century, but rather on the major championships. Currently, LIV golf events do not receive Official World Golf Ranking points, which will make it extremely difficult for its players to play their way into future majors after any exemptions they may currently have.

As a result, this could be the last Open Championship for Sergio Garcia and the last major for the likes of Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood, who all play for LIV Golf. Neither the major championship organizations nor the OWGR board have made any final decisions regarding LIV Golf. Both are very high in the air.

“I don’t agree with [players going to LIV]” Woods said. “I think what they’ve done is they’ve turned their backs[s] what has allowed them to reach this position. Some players have never had a chance to experience it. They’ve gone right from the amateur ranks to that organization and never had a chance to play here and what it’s like to play a tournament program or play in some big events.

“And who knows what will happen in the near future with world ranking points, the criteria to enter major championships. The governing body will have to figure that out.

“Some of these players may never get a chance to play in the majors. That’s a possibility. We don’t know that for sure yet. It’s up to all the major league bodies to decide that. But that’s an opportunity. that some players will never, ever get a chance to play in a major championship, never get a chance to experience this right here, to walk the first fairways at Augusta National.”

It seemed that Tiger wasn’t even able to understand the concept of a person choosing money over the ability to attend majors.

“I just don’t get it,” he said. “I understand what Jack [Nicklaus] and Arnold [Palmer] he did because playing pro golf at a tournament level versus a club pro is different, and I understand that transition and that movement and familiarity that is a tour pro versus a club pro.

“But what are these players doing for guaranteed money, what’s the incentive to practice? What’s the incentive to go out there and earn it in the dirt? You just get paid a lot of money and play some events. and play 54 holes . They’re playing loud music and they have all these vibes that are different.”

Woods’ voice has always carried a ton of weight — that’s how it works when it comes to the most prolific champions — but at St. Andrews for a historic Open, he seemed almost docile, a label he was never really comfortable accepting but will no doubt be trusted in the years to come.

In this case, it actually felt appropriate.

“I can understand that 54 holes is almost like a term when you get to the senior tour; the guys are a little bit older and a little bit more beaten up. But when you’re at this young age and some of these kids — those with are really kids who have gone from amateur golf to that organization — the 72-hole tests are part of it,” Woods continued. “We had 36-hole playoffs for the majors. That’s what it used to be: 18-hole playoffs at the US Open.

“I just don’t see how this move is positive in the long term for many of these players, especially if the LIV organization doesn’t get world ranking points and the major championships change their entry criteria. Be sad to you see some of these young kids never get a chance to experience that and experience what we’ve had a chance to experience and walk on these hallowed grounds and play in these championships.”

For someone like Tiger, jeopardizing the possibility of playing in the future majors is a non-starter.

Yes, Woods already has it both ways — big money and trophies — but his message was clear Tuesday in St. Louis. Andrews. If given the choice between one or the other, the decision — no matter how much money is at stake, and it was said to be an offer of several hundred million dollars for him — would be extremely easy.

Money can’t buy chances in the majors, and for Woods, they are — and always have been — the most important thing.

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