Tiger Woods has revealed his frustration at the secretive way in which a potential peace deal in golf’s civil war was agreed and insisted: “That won’t happen again”.
Woods will compete for the first time since undergoing ankle surgery in April in this week’s Hero World Challenge and believes contesting one tournament a month is a realistic target for 2024.
However, the questions in his pre-tournament press conference in the Bahamas were predominantly about the future shape of men’s professional golf after he took on a major role in those discussions by becoming a player-directory on the PGA Tour’s policy board.
Tiger Woods has joined the PGA TOUR Policy Board as a sixth Player Director.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) August 1, 2023
The world of golf was stunned when a framework agreement between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) was announced on June 6, with a deadline of December 31 for a deal to be finalised.
“Going back to that, I would say that my reaction was surprised as I’m sure a lot of the players were taken back by it, by what happened so quickly without any input or any information about it, it was just thrown out there,” Woods said.
“We were very frustrated with what happened. We were all taken back by it.
“It happened so quickly without any of our involvement. No one knew. That can’t happen again.
“How do we do that is having six player directors so we control the board and we control what we’re going to do.
“I think Jay (Monahan, PGA Tour commissioner) has been a part of the direction, he understands what happened prior to that can’t happen again and won’t happen again, not with the players that are involved and not with the player directors having the role that we have.”
Woods, who said he totally understood why Rory McIlroy had stood down as a player-director earlier this month, is relishing the opportunity to have a “lasting impact” on the future of the PGA Tour as the future of LIV Golf and the players who joined the breakaway are decided.
“I think there is away in which we can all benefit from team golf, it’s just how do we do it? We’re just trying to figure out that process now,” Woods said.
“We’ve been doing it for months, trying to figure out how that all works, what does that landscape even look like and where do we play and what impact does it have on our PGA Tour schedule?
“As far as a pathway (for LIV players), we’re still working on that. There’s so many different scenarios. That’s why I said there’s a lot of sleepless hours trying to figure that out.
“Everyone involved wants a return, that’s just part of doing deals, but we have to protect the integrity of our Tour and what that stands for going forward.”
The longtime golf writer is currently battling cancer and covering the Hero World Challenge this week. pic.twitter.com/NIc1G7tosi
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 28, 2023
Woods has become so involved in his new player-director role that he insisted any conversations about becoming Ryder Cup captain in 2025 would have to take a back seat, but the 47-year-old is still targeting more individual glory.
“What drives me is I love to compete,” added Woods, who revealed he always knew he would need his ankle to be fused or replaced, a process accelerated by his aborted comeback last year.
“There will come a point in time, I haven’t come around to it fully yet, that I won’t be able to win again. When that day comes I’m going to walk away.
“I don’t have any of the ankle pain that I had before with the hardware that’s been placed in my foot, that’s all gone. The other parts of my body, my knee hurts, my back. The forces go somewhere else.
“I’m just as curious as all of you with what’s going to happen. I haven’t done this in a while.
“I think that best scenario (for 2024) would be maybe a tournament a month. I think that’s realistic. The biggest events are one per month. It sets itself up for that.
“Now I need to get myself ready for all that. I think this week is a big step in that direction.”