Tiger Woods, player-interlocutor with Saudis

Joining Woods on the subcommittee are PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, board chairman Joe Gorder, John W. Henry of Fenway Sports Group, and former PGA Tour player Joe Ogilvie

by Andrea Gussoni
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Tiger Woods, player-interlocutor with Saudis
© Andrew Redington/Getty Images Sport

Tiger Woods has been appointed as the sole player-representative on a five-member subcommittee involved in the PGA Tour's ongoing negotiations with the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the Saudi backers of LIV Golf. Woods, who was appointed to the PGA Tour's board of governors in August, will serve on the "transaction subcommittee" within the PGA Tour Enterprises board, tasked with handling day-to-day negotiations as the PIF seeks to become a minority investor.

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Joining Woods on the subcommittee are PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, board chairman Joe Gorder, John W. Henry of Fenway Sports Group, and former PGA Tour player Joe Ogilvie, who was appointed as director of liaison in March.

This subcommittee will report back to the full board of directors. The announcement comes amid a backdrop of internal board dynamics and player movements. Rory McIlroy's potential return to the board as a replacement for Webb Simpson faced resistance, leading to McIlroy stepping down in November.

He had previously suggested that LIV players be allowed to return without penalty, a proposal that stirred controversy within the golf community. McIlroy's position was filled by Jordan Spieth, adding another layer of complexity to the board's composition.

This board, which also includes players like Patrick Cantlay, Adam Scott, and Peter Malnati, is part of the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Enterprises, which recently secured a deal with Strategic Sports Group as a minority investor, involving an investment that could total up to $3 billion.

Despite stepping down, McIlroy remains an influential figure in golf due to his previous two-year tenure on the board and his continuous involvement in tour activities. As the only member from the European tour on the PGA Tour board, McIlroy has maintained relationships across continents throughout his career.

The framework agreement between the PGA Tour, the European tour, and the PIF was announced on June 6, with a deadline for finalizing the deal by the end of 2023. Negotiations are ongoing, with Woods expressing cautious optimism following a positive meeting during the Masters: "I don’t know if we’re closer, but we’re definitely moving in the right direction.

It was a very positive meeting, and I think both sides came out of it feeling positive." This pivotal role for Woods and the ongoing negotiations reflect the PGA Tour's efforts to bridge divides within the golf world and potentially bring about a reunification of sorts, amidst the complex dynamics of global sports investments and competition.

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