Thursday, February 9, 2023

Tiger Woods to lead meeting of top PGA Tour players to discuss threat of LIV Golf, per reports

While Tiger Woods may not be participating in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, his presence will be felt on the grounds of Wilmington Country Club on Tuesday. Woods is expected to fly into Wilmington, Delaware, to lead a meeting among the top-20 players in the world and some of the most influential figures in the game to garner support among his PGA Tour counterparts in their fight against the rival upstart LIV Golf, according to media reports.

The meeting reportedly will¬†take place at the site of the 2022 BMW Championship — the second FedEx Cup Playoffs event — and will follow a PGA Tour Player Advisory Council meeting which will introduce Max Homa, Brandt Snedeker, Keith Mitchell and Kevin Streelman as replacements for previous members Brooks Koepka, Graeme McDowell and Paul Casey, who have defected to LIV Golf.

“It’s a meeting to get the top 20 players in the world on the same page on how we can continue to make the PGA Tour the best product in professional golf,” a player who will be attending the meeting told ESPN.

This meeting may include some difficult dialogue for attendees as the Fire Pit Collective’s Alan Shipnuck reported: “Supposedly everything is on the table, from major championship boycotts to [PGA Tour commissioner Jay] Monahan’s future to a larger compromise.”

Monahan is expected to meet with players on Wednesday.

All of this is just the latest in what has been a well-documented battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. Most recently, a federal judge out of San Jose, California, denied a temporary restraining order for LIV Golf participants Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford as they wished to play in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Some of the biggest critics to LIV Golf have included Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Billy Horschel, but Woods has not been silent on the matter and made his thoughts known at the 150th Open at St. Andrews in July.

“I disagree with it,” Woods said. “I think that what they’ve done is they’ve turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position.”

“Some of these players may not ever get a chance to play in major championships,” Woods continued. “That is a possibility. We don’t know that for sure yet. It’s up to all the major championship bodies to make that determination. But that is a possibility, that some players will never, ever get a chance to play in a major championship, never get a chance to experience this right here, walk down the fairways at Augusta National. That, to me, I just don’t understand it.”

Coincidentally, it is the Champion Golfer of the Year whose name has been at the center of rumors in recent weeks as Cameron Smith has been linked to LIV Golf. The world No. 2 withdrew from the BMW Championship on Monday citing hip discomfort and will not be on property as he heals up before the Tour Championship.

The 28-year-old would be LIV Golf’s biggest haul to date as he would join other major champions Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen and Henrik Stenson.

The outflow of talent from the PGA Tour has not been significant thus far, but the potential departure of Smith — a current major champion in his prime and among the best in the world — may have lit a fire underneath PGA Tour members. With exemptions into major championships for the next five years, what is to stop another young talent from following in Smith’s footsteps after a major championship triumph.

All of this and more Woods and his peers will attempt to figure out on Tuesday.

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