As Australian Cameron Smith is rumoured to be the latest star to have joined Norman’s revolution in a deal worth $140 million, LIV Golf pointed the finger at the PGA Tour for recruiting Woods to “publicly criticise” players who joined the controversial tour.
The fifteen-time major winner Woods is reported to have knocked back a staggering $1 billion to join the Saudi-funded breakaway group and has been vocal about his opposition to the new venture.
In the antitrust lawsuit filed by eleven LIV golfers in the United States against the PGA Tour earlier this month, the rebel group highlighted comments made by Woods since several players joined for massive sign-on fees, The Daily Mail reports.
Part of the lawsuit read: “The Tour also got Tiger Woods to do its bidding and publicly criticise golfers — particularly younger golfers — for joining LIV Golf by suggesting they would never play in The Masters, The Open, or other majors and would not earn OWGR (Official World Golf Ranking) points.”
It also stated that Woods’ comments “echoed earlier evidence indicating that the Tour was continuing to pressure the majors to join the Tour’s unlawful group boycott to exclude LIV Golf and punish any players who played in any LIV events”.
Woods last month spoke specifically about amateur players joining LIV Golf without plying their trade on the PGA Tour, saying they’ve “turned their back” on the game’s traditions.
“I disagree with those who have gone to LIV, I think they have turned their back on what allowed them to get to this position. Some players have never had a chance to even experience playing on one of the tours.
“They have gone right from the amateur ranks to that organisation and never really had a chance to feel what it is like to play a schedule or play in big events.
“Some of these players may never even get a chance to play in major championships. That is a possibility. They will never get a chance to experience this right here. Walk down the fairways at Augusta National.
“I don’t understand it. What these players are doing for guaranteed money, what is the incentive to practice? What is the incentive to go out there and earn it in the dirt?”
Woods also expressed uncertainty about LIV Golf’s long term impact on the game.
“You are just getting paid a lot of money upfront and playing a few events and playing 54 holes,” he added.
“They are playing blaring music. I can understand 54 holes for the Senior Tour. The guys are older and a little more banged up. When you are young, 72-hole tests are part of it. We used to have 36-hole playoffs for majors.
“I just don’t see how this is positive in the long term. It would be sad to see some of these young kids never get a chance to walk these hallowed grounds and play in these majors.”
LIV Golf also accused the organisers of the Masters Tournament of aligning themselves with the PGA Tour and creating uncertainty around players’ eligibility for future major tournaments at Augusta National for joining LIV Golf.
“Augusta National, the promoter of The Masters, has taken multiple actions to indicate its alignment with the PGA Tour, thus seeding doubt among top professional golfers whether they would be banned from future Masters Tournaments,” reads the lawsuit.
“For example, in February, 2022, Augusta National representatives threatened to disinvite players from The Masters if they joined LIV Golf.”
Greg Norman, CEO of the breakaway series, revealed LIV Golf put together a big money offer to get Woods to jump ship.
Speaking on Fox News, Norman confirmed the offer to the legend was “somewhere in that neighbourhood” of $1 billion.
“That number was out there before I became CEO,” Norman admitted. “That number has been out there, yes.”
“Tiger is a needle mover. So course you got to look at the best of the best. The originally approached tiger before I became CEO so yes, that number is somewhere in that neighbourhood.”
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