Tiger Woods suddenly announced: “PGA Tour does not need PIF cash”

‘We’re in a great position’: Tiger Woods claims PGA Tour doesn’t need PIF cash

Tiger Woods in action


Tiger Woods has said that negotiations with Saudi Arabia’s PIF are ‘ongoing’, but insists the PGA Tour is in excellent shape regardless. Photograph: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Tiger Woods has become the latest golfer to fire a warning to Saudi Arabia that the PGA Tour is no longer reliant on investment from its Public Investment Fund. The split in top-level golf, between those operating on the PGA Tour and those who perform on the Saudi-backed LIV circuit, appears no closer to being repaired.

The PGA Tour announced recently that it had agreed a $3bn (£2.39bn) deal with Strategic Sports Group (SSG), a consortium led by the Fenway Sports Group. As part of that, players such as Woods will be afforded huge levels of equity.

Involvement in the new commercial entity by the PIF, which was the plan surprisingly announced as part of a framework agreement last June, remains subject to regulatory approval amid close scrutiny in the US. Until contracts are signed, doubts will remain over whether the PGA Tour and PIF can ever work in tandem.

Jordan Spieth turned heads by stating his belief that a deal with the PIF “is not needed” because of the scale of SSG’s involvement. Now Woods, who like Spieth sits on the PGA Tour’s policy board, has ­followed suit. “Ultimately we would like to have PIF be a part of our tour and a part of our product,” the 15‑time major winner said.

“Financially, we don’t [need that] right now. The monies that they have come to the table with and what we initially had agreed to in the framework agreement, those are all the same numbers. Anything beyond this is going to be obviously over and above. We’re in a great position right now.”

Asked specifically about the delay in formalising any PIF involvement, Woods said: “The PIF deal obviously is ongoing. We have solidified our agreement with SSG. PIF is ongoing and we are still negotiating.”

This apparent coldness from Woods and Spieth will have been noticed within Saudi golf circles. LIV recently began its third season in operation, boosted by the coaxing of the Masters champion Jon Rahm from the PGA Tour.

Woods, a long-time LIV sceptic, admitted he has had no discussions with anybody from the PIF including its governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan. “The consortium that they have at SSG, the partners that have come together to be a part of the group, is quite remarkable, to be honest with you, in the sports industry,” he said.

“They are unbelievable ­leaders and at a time when we need great leaders going forward, I think this elicits that. The amazing brains, the ideas that can make this tour better… we are looking forward to that.”

Woods’s competitive preparations for the Masters get under way with an appearance at the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles from Thursday.

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