Tiger Woods ‘stepped up for all of us’, says friend and rival Rory McIlroy of icon’s decision to represent players on PGA Tour board in controversial merger with LIV Golf
- Woods and McIlroy have championed PGA players since the deal was announced
- Masters champion Jon Rahm said players felt a sense of ‘betrayal’ from the merger
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
Tiger Woods’ presence on the PGA Tour board is a big relief to friend and rival Rory McIlroy, who has thanked the injured golfing legend for representing players in the controversial merger with LIV Golf, supported by Saudi Arabia.
“The player who, especially over the past 20 years, has left the greatest legacy on the game, for him to be involved in discussions about the future of professional golf and what that might look like is very important,” said McIlroy ahead of this week’s FedEx St Jude Championship as he bids to win the FedEx Cup overall title for the fourth time.
‘Tiger has stepped up for all of us on the Tour and I think he realizes that all the players on the board are trying to play golf on a regular basis and at the same time also trying to navigate all these different things, so he might have a little more time on his hands than us.
“So for him stepping up and kind of offloading us a bit of the load is very much appreciated.”
Woods and McIlroy were the biggest defenders of the established tours in their battle with LIV Golf, but were kept in the dark ahead of the shock announcement of a deal between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and the Investment Fund public of Saudi Arabia, which funds LIV. .
McIlroy (right) praised Woods (left) for representing player interests on the PGA Board
Masters champion Jon Rahm said the players felt a sense of “betrayal” that the deal was brokered in secret, with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan facing calls to resign when the framework agreement was revealed on June 6.
Woods became player-director in what the PGA Tour announced last week as a new agreement “to ensure the Tour lives up to its mission to be an organization run by players, for players, by players.” players”.
This means the new board will be made up of six player-directors, five independent directors – including a replacement for Randall Stephenson, who stepped down over ‘serious concerns’ over the deal last month – and the manager of the PGA of America.
Woods, 47, has not played since withdrawing from the Masters in April and admits his playing opportunities will be extremely limited in the future, but the 15-time Major winner remains a hugely influential figure in the game.
McIlroy, who also sits on the board with Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson, Charley Hoffman and Peter Malnati, said: “He’s a great addition.”
The 34-year-old pulled an old putter out of his garage for use at TPC Southwind in Memphis as he attempted to overhaul Masters champion Jon Rahm and world number one Scottie Scheffler at the top of the leaderboard.
“I sort of treat it like a 12-round tournament,” McIlroy added of the playoff format. “You have 12 rounds to go, and you try to go out there and get the best out of yourself in those 12 days.
LIV CEO Greg Norman and Saudi Arabia PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan were delighted with the merger between the Tour and LIV Golf, which sent shockwaves around the world.
“I missed the cut here last year and then I was able to bounce back with a good finish at the BMW (Championship) and then go on and win the Tour Championship.
“If you’re up there in the standings, at least you know you have some breathing room. Going into the Tour Championship, if you’re within four of the lead from Thursday, I think you are in a very good position.
McIlroy’s place in Europe’s Ryder Cup squad for this year’s competition in Rome was officially confirmed on Wednesday, along with Rahm’s, but the Northern Irishman’s preparation will be somewhat unorthodox.
Following the end of the PGA Tour season, McIlroy will return to Europe for the Irish Open and the BMW PGA Championship, but added with a smile: “I have a bachelor party in Mykonos after Wentworth for a few days, then I have a few days to dry before the Ryder Cup.