Tiger Woods: "PGA doesn't need PIF money"

"Financially, we don't need it at the moment," said Tiger Woods

by Andrea Gussoni
Tiger Woods: "PGA doesn't need PIF money"
© Ronald Martinez / Getty Images Sport

Will this famous framework agreement launched on June 6, 2023, and supposed to be finalized before the Masters see the light of day? It's far from certain. This is at least what Tiger Woods, a member of the PGA Tour's Board of Directors, seems to suggest.

On the sidelines of the Genesis Invitational where he is making his comeback to competition in a regular-season tournament since Augusta last April, Tiger has stated that the American circuit no longer depends on the potential financial contribution of the Saudi sovereign fund, owner of LIV Golf.

Tiger Woods, statements

The former world number one thus praised the agreement signed on January 31 between the PGA Tour and the Strategic Sports Group (SSG), a consortium of investors with a combined value approaching $60 billion.

Will this five-star "marriage" renamed PGA Tour Enterprises derail the negotiations between the PGA Tour and the PIF? Apparently not, even though it's clearly no longer the priority... "Financially, we don't need it at the moment," said Tiger Woods.

"We would like the PIF to be part of the Tour and our product," whispered the 48-year-old American today. "But financially, we don't need it at the moment. The amounts they have proposed to put on the table for an overarching agreement are equivalent.

Anything beyond that sum will only be better. But for now, our position is excellent." This position is even stronger as some other members of the PGA Tour's Board of Directors, like Jordan Spieth for example, have clearly stated that they "are no longer obligated" to sign with the PIF.

LIV Golf is a professional men's golf tour. The name "LIV" refers to the Roman numerals for 54, the score if every hole on a par-72 course were birdied, and the number of holes to be played at LIV events. The inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series event commenced on June 9, 2022, at the Centurion Club near St Albans in Hertfordshire, UK.

The Invitational Series evolved into the LIV Golf League in 2023. Financed by the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, LIV Golf has drawn criticism from some journalists and commentators who view it as part of efforts by the Saudi monarchy to enhance its public image through sports, amidst allegations of corruption and human rights abuses.

The concept of a new golf tour to rival the PGA Tour surfaced in 2019 with the announcement of a league called the Premier Golf League. In response, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan hinted that golfers opting to participate in a new league could face exclusion from PGA Tour events.

Subsequently, in 2020, the PGA European Tour and the PGA Tour forged a "strategic alliance" to collaborate on commercial opportunities, scheduling, and prize funds for their respective memberships. The Premier Golf League engaged in discussions with Saudi investors regarding a financial partnership.

However, Golf Saudi, a division of the Public Investment Fund, opted to fund a new entity in 2020 with its own vision to establish a global professional league, often referred to as the "Super Golf League." This entity formally emerged in October 2021 as LIV Golf Investments, with former professional golfer Greg Norman appointed as CEO.

Tiger Woods