ST. ANDREWS (Scotland) Tiger WoodsDuring a news conference at St. Andrews 150th Open Championship on Tuesday, he blasted LIV Golf. He also offered his sharpest criticism of PGA Tour players who were lured into the Saudi Arabian-financed circuit with lucrative signing bonuses.
In some cases, high-profile players, such as former major champions, may be involved. Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin JohnsonAnd Brooks KoepkaTwo-time Open winner, Michael Phelps, was the circuits new leader. He received guaranteed deals totaling more than $100 million Greg Norman.
Woods said, I disagree. I believe theyve turned their backs on whats allowed them to get to this point.
Woods, who is a 15-time major champion wondered how players could hinder their chances to play in major championships. The Official World Golf Ranking does not recognize the LIV Golf Invitational Series. This means that its players did no receive world points for the first two events, in London and Portland, Oregon.
Woods said, Who knows what will happen in the near future regarding world-ranking points and the criteria to enter major championships. The governing body must figure that out.
Some of these athletes may never have the opportunity to play in major championships. It is possible. That is something we dont know for certain yet. All major championship bodies will make that determination. That is not to say that all players will ever have the opportunity to play in a major championship. Its something I don’t understand.
Woods, who has three Open Championship wins, including victories at the Old Course, 2000, and 2005, said that he supports the R&As decision not to invite NormanTo St. Andrews to celebrate the 150th Open. In a statement, the R&A said it wanted to avoid distractions during the celebration week.
The R&A obviously have their opinions and their rulings and their decision, Woods said. Greg did some things that I do not believe are in the best interest for our game. Were going back to the most historic, traditional place in our sport. Its the right decision.
The PGA Tour acknowledged Monday that the United States was a winner. Department of Justice opened an investigationInquiry into the handling of players who threatened leaving LIV Golf, and whether the tours requirement for members to have conflicting event releases to play in other events was anticompetitive behavior.
ESPN confirmed that two player agents had been contacted about their clients willingness by the DOJ to be interviewed by federal attorneys. This is the latest development in a rift which has gripped the sport this season.
Woods stated, I know what the PGA Tour stands up for and what it has given me, the ability to chase our careers and earn what we get and the trophies that we have been able play for and the history that has been a piece of this game.
I know Greg tried this back in the early 1990s. It didn’t work then and he’s trying to make it work today. I dont think that this is in the best interest of the game. What the European Tour and the PGA Tour stand for and what theyve done. They see it differently from what Greg sees.
Woods, who will play in his third official event since he was seriously hurt in a car accident outside Los Angeles in February 2021 has played nine more holes Tuesday morning. Since arriving in St. Andrews, Woods has walked 58 of the holes.
Woods stated that although the Old Course isn’t quite as hilly as Augusta National where he made his return from competitive golf at the Masters in April or Southern Hills in May, it was still a challenging walk for him with his surgically repaired right leg.
Woods stated, Its still difficult. Granted, the inclines do not seem to be steep. Theyre not steep, the declines aren’t steep. Its the unevenness that makes it difficult for me. I have a lot hardware in my leg. It is what it is. Its going be hard.
Woods stated that he will practice Wednesday, but wont be walking any more holes. He will tee off for the first round on Thursday at 9:59 a.m. ET with U.S. Open champion Matt FitzpatrickAnd Max Homa. The second round will begin at 4:58 a.m. ET on Friday. Woods body wont be able to withstand the quick turnaround.
Woods said, Yes. The walk is definitely a lot simpler than those two championships that were before this year. Im able walk a lot better. Ive also gotten stronger since then. I now spend more time in the weight room, and I get stronger and have better endurance.
There was at least one other player in that field, 2014 Open winner Rory McIlroyAccording to McIlroy, Woods can hunt for another Claret Jug if the wind blows off the North Sea. McIlroy played four holes in Mondays Celebration of Champions with Woods and said that he was moving better then Ive seen him in a while.
McIlroy said, I think that the golf course is in a good condition and I can see it. Its going be a game chess this week. No one has been better at playing that type of chess on a golf course over the past 20 years than Tiger.
Woods, who was almost amputated in his right leg by surgeons after his car accident, is now happy to be playing again golf.
Woods stated, For the most of my rehab, I was just hoping that my walking would be normal again. But lo, behold, Ive played champion golf this year. After realizing that I could play at a high level, I focused on getting back here to St. Andrews for this championship, which is, as I said it, the most historic weve ever had.
I didnt want the Open to miss here at the home golf.