Tiger Woods is set to meet with some of the best golfers in the world on Tuesday as he attempts to stop defections from the PGA Tour to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series.
The story was first reported by the Fire Pit Collective and sources later confirmed the plans to ESPN. The meeting is set to take place at the venue for the BMW Championship, which starts on Thursday in Delaware.
“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,” a player who was invited to the meeting told ESPN on Monday.
Several former major champions including Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Sergio Garcia have joined the LIV Series, which is offering guaranteed contracts reportedly worth more than $100m in some cases. Reports in the last few weeks have linked the reigning British Open champion Cameron Smith with a move to the new series. Last week, a US judge blocked three LIV rebels from featuring in the PGA Tour’s end‑of‑season playoff series.
LIV’s commissioner Greg Norman said earlier this month that Woods had turned down an offer in the range of $800m to join the series.
Woods himself has voiced his objection to players joining the LIV Series. “I disagree with it,” Woods said in July. “I think that what they’ve done is they’ve turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position.”
The LIV Series is not yet recognised by the Official World Golf Rankings, which helps determine the fields for the majors.
“Who knows what’s going to happen in the near future with world-ranking points, the criteria for entering major championships,” Woods said. “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.”
Woods is not the only prominent golfer to speak out against the LIV Series. Rory McIlroy has regularly voiced his displeasure about LIV players attempting to compete on the PGA Tour.
“I don’t begrudge anyone for going over to play LIV or taking guaranteed money,” McIlroy said last week. “If that’s your prerogative and what you want to do, totally fine.
“I think where the resentment comes from, from the membership of this tour, is the fact that they want to try to get back in here with no consequences. Anyone that’s read the PGA Tour handbook or abided by the rules and regulations, that would feel very unfair to them. It was a good day for the Tour and for the majority of the membership yesterday.” - Guardian