Speaking to reporters during his press conference ahead of this week’s British Open, Woods couldn’t understand how a competitor could be lured by signing bonuses to join LIV Golf and risk the opportunity of playing in major championships.
“I disagree with it,” Woods said of the players who have spurned the PGA Tour for LIV Golf. “I think that what they’ve done is they’ve turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position.”
Tiger Woods criticizes LIV golfers defecting from the PGA Tour:
"To play there, I disagree with it … They've turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position." pic.twitter.com/hrg8CaOG9B
— The Recount (@therecount) July 12, 2022
Those who have joined LIV Golf have been widely criticized for partnering with a league financed by the Saudi government, acting as a tool for sportswashing its complicity in the Sept. 11 attacks and glaring human rights abuses. Woods, however, is more focused on the fact that offering players money up front takes away their incentive to perform well on the course.
“What these players are doing for guaranteed money, what is the incentive to practice?” Woods asked. “What is the incentive to go out there and earn it in the dirt? You’re just getting paid a lot of money up front and playing a few events and playing 54 holes. They’re playing blaring music and have all these atmospheres that are different.”
Woods didn’t just target the players such as Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson who have allowed the Saudi government to fill their pockets with cash. He also criticized Greg Norman, the Hall of Fame golfer who is the CEO of LIV.
“[Organizers] The R&A obviously have their opinions and their rulings and their decision,” Woods said. “Greg has done some things that I don’t think is in the best interest of our game, and we’re coming back to probably the most historic and traditional place in our sport. I believe it’s the right thing.”