"I disagree with it"...Tiger Woods slams LIV Golf rebels
Tiger Woods is back at the home of the golf for the first time in seven years and a lot of things have changed during that time, not just for Woods but for the golfing landscape as well.
The new LIV Golf breakaway tour fronted by Greg Norman has shaken the golf world to its very core. Until now Woods has stayed relatively quiet on the matter. This all changed during his press conference yesterday at St Andrews, when he finally laid bare his true feelings on LIV.
Woods said: "...about the players who have chosen to go to LIV and to play on -- to play there, I disagree with it. I think that what they've done is they've turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position.
"Some players have never got a chance to even experience it. They've gone right from the amateur ranks right into that organisation and never really got a chance to play out here and what it feels like to play a TOUR schedule or to play in some big events.
"And who knows what's going to happen in the near future with world-ranking points, the criteria for entering major championships. The governing body is going to have to figure that out.
"Some of these players may not ever get a chance to play in major championships. That is a possibility. We don't know that for sure yet. It's up to all the major championship bodies to make that determination. But that is a possibility, that some players will never, ever get a chance to play in a major championship, never get a chance to experience this right here, walk down the fairways at Augusta National.
"That, to me, I just don't understand it. I understand what Jack and Arnold did because playing professional golf at a TOUR level versus a club pro is different, and I understand that transition and that move and the recognition that a touring pro versus a club pro is.
"But what these players are doing for guaranteed money, what is the incentive to practise? What is the incentive to go out there and earn it in the dirt? You're just getting paid a lot of money up front and playing a few events and playing 54 holes. They're playing blaring music and have all these atmospheres that are different.
"I just don't see how, out of 54 holes -- I can understand 54 holes is almost like a mandate when you get to the Senior Tour. The guys are little bit older and a little more banged up. But when you're at this young age and some of these kids -- they really are kids who have gone from amateur golf into that organisation -- 72-hole tests are part of it. We used to have 36-hole playoffs for major championships. That's how it used to be -- 18-hole U.S. Open playoffs.
"I just don't see how that move is positive in the long term for a lot of these players, especially if the LIV organisation doesn't get world-ranking points and the major championships change their criteria for entering the events.
"It would be sad to see some of these young kids never get a chance to experience it and experience what we've got a chance to experience and walk these hallowed grounds and play in these championships."
When asked about his thoughts on Greg Norman not being invited to the British Open this year, Woods stated: "The R&A obviously have their opinions and their rulings and their decision. 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."
As for his beliefs that Norman has not acted in the best interests of the game, Woods said: "I know what the PGA TOUR stands for and what we have done and what the TOUR has given us, the ability to chase after our careers and to earn what we get and the trophies we have been able to play for and the history that has been a part of this game.
"I know Greg tried to do this back 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 interests of the game. What the European Tour and what the PGA TOUR stands for and what they've done, and also all the professional -- all the governing bodies of the game of golf and all the major championships, how they run it. I think they see it differently than what Greg sees it."
Tiger Woods tees off at 2.59pm GMT on Thursday 14 July 2022, alongside US Open winner Matt Fitzpatrick and Max Homa.