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Tiger Woods Rips LIV Golfers: 'They've Turned Their Back' on PGA Tour

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 12, 2022

PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Tiger Woods has questioned whether the massive guaranteed contracts being handed out by LIV Golf will cause younger players to lose their competitive fire.

Speaking Tuesday ahead of the 2022 Open Championship on the legendary Old Course at St Andrews, Woods argued golfers who jumped to the rival tour "turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position."

He also wondered whether future decisions about world-ranking points and the potential inability to play in major tournaments were considered:

Kyle Porter @KylePorterCBS

Tiger's answer on LIV was so, so good. <a href="https://t.co/qjKQoYpt9c">pic.twitter.com/qjKQoYpt9c</a>

LIV Golf officials made a concerted effort to convince Woods to make the jump, which would have been game-changing in LIV's effort to secure more fan support.

Greg Norman, a two-time major champion who's the CEO of the Saudi Arabia-backed tour, told Kent Babb of the Washington Post in June they made a proposal to Woods that was "mind-blowingly enormous; we're talking about high nine digits."

Woods, who's struggled with injuries in recent years and could have benefited from the 54-hole, no-cut events, turned the offer down and maintained his allegiance to the PGA Tour.

The situation has caused a rift between players who've remained loyal to the PGA Tour and those who've accepted the offers of generational wealth to compete on LIV, which has often been described as a "sportswashing" campaign by Saudi Arabia.

Rory McIlroy, the most outspoken anti-LIV golfer in recent months, said Tuesday it would be better for the health of the sport if a PGA Tour player wins the Open Championship this weekend.

"Selfishly, for me, yes," McIlroy told reporters. "But at the end of the day, everyone that's here has the same opportunity to go out there and try to win a Claret Jug, regardless of what tour they play on or whatever that is. Whoever wins here at the end of the week should be commended for one of the greatest achievements this game has to offer."

The four major tournaments, which are separate entities from the PGA Tour, have allowed players to compete regardless of their tour.

A lot of uncertainty exists moving forward, however, and that increased further Monday when it was reported the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating potential "anticompetitive behavior" by the PGA Tour in regards to LIV Golf.

The PGA Tour has banned players who competed in a LIV tournament from its events, and an extended legal battle may lie ahead to determine whether that's permissible since the players are independent contractors.

Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson are among the high-profile golfers who've made the move to LIV.

It's unclear where the situation will go from here, but it's a major win for the PGA Tour to have Tiger in its corner.

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