Tiger Woods insists the ultimate goal remains for the Saudi Public Investment Fund, which funds LIV Golf, to be “part of our tour.”
But the 15-time major winner believes the PGA Tour does not need to strike a deal with the Saudis after its recent investment deal with Strategic Sports Group.
Speaking ahead of this week’s Genesis Invitational, where he will make his first start in an official PGA Tour event since last year’s Masters, tournament host Woods broke his silence on the SSG deal, which was announced more than two weeks.
The deal that could pump more than $3 billion into for-profit organization PGA Tour Enterprises has cast doubt on the future of the framework deal agreed with the Saudi-backed PIF last summer.
“At the end of the day, we’re trying to provide the best entertainment, and to do that you need the best players to play,” Woods said.
Tiger Woods says goal remains to have Public Investment Fund as ‘part of our tour’
“Ultimately, we would like PIF to be part of our tour and our product.”
But Woods, who serves as council director, added: “Financially, we don’t have it right now, and the money they’ve come to the table with and what we had initially agreed to in the framework agreement, that’s it.” the same numbers.
‘Anything beyond this will obviously be overcome. We’re in a position right now, hopefully we can improve our product in the short and long term.
Woods said discussions with PIF are ongoing and “fluid.” There are also daily conversations and emails regarding paths to returning to compete on the PGA Tour for those who have signed with LIV Golf.
It’s been a heated debate among players, whose opinions range from allowing LIV players to return without repercussions to those who believe some form of punishment is necessary.
Woods played alongside NFL quarterback Josh Allen in the Genesis Invitational Pro-Am.
The pair also played with Los Angeles Angels center fielder Aaron Hicks (center).
“We’re investigating all the different models of return paths,” Woods said. “What that looks like, what the impact is for players who have stayed and players who haven’t left and how we improve our product going forward, there’s no answer to that right now.”
‘We are looking at different degrees of ideas and we don’t know what they will look like in the short term. We don’t even know what that will look like in the long term. Believe me, there are daily and weekly emails and chats about this and what our tour will be like in the future.”
Among the many disruptive aspects that LIV has introduced to the professional game is the aspect of team golf. LIV, once reserved for biennial events such as the Ryder and Presidents Cups, is the first tour to embrace team golf at its core.
Woods believes the PGA Tour will also incorporate an element of team golf in the future. That could be in the form of one-off events, such as the TMRW golf league started by himself and Rory McIlroy that will debut in 2025, to possible additional official tournaments.
What form it ultimately takes will be part of what SSG brings to the table, as the group is a consortium of American sports team owners and investors.
“Ultimately, we would like PIF to be part of our tour and our product,” Woods said.
“(Team golf is) one of the reasons we have SSG to be a part of what that might look like or what that looks like or what that looks like with our PIF negotiations as well,” Woods said.
‘They are incredible leaders. At a time when we need great leadership in the future, I think this causes it. “The incredible brains of ideas that can make this tour better and we are looking forward to that.”
With the professional golf landscape still fractured and no clear end in sight, Woods was asked why fans should be excited about what lies ahead.
“We want to have the history, involve the history and the traditions of the history of our tour and have the paths, the accessibility, have all the intangibles that have made the PGA Tour what it is now and what it has been, and hopefully the which will continue to be even better.
‘And how do we do that? That’s the idea of why we have a group like SSG that gives us information and help and tries to create the best tour we can have.”