Key PGA golfers – including Tiger Woods – should meet with Saudis, says Adam Scott

Amid fears that fans are losing interest in tournaments like the Players Championship, a meeting with Yasir Al-Rumayyan is on the cards

 

Adam Scott believes all of his fellow player directors on the PGA Tour – including Tiger Woods – should meet with the Saudis in attempts to thrash out a peace deal.

 

Reports emerged at Sawgrass that Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the £600billion Public Investment Fund and chairman of LIV, is prepared to sit down with the golfers. Jordan Spieth, another players’ director on the Tour’s policy board, later confirmed they were “being encouraged” to attend talks that might take place imminently.

 

It could be a hugely significant moment in golf’s civil war that has been raging for more than two years since the LIV formation, especially if Woods is around the table. He revealed last month he has never met Al-Rumayyan, who is also chairman of Newcastle United, and for the duo to break bread would, at the very least, be symbolic. Without naming the 15-time major winner, Scott thinks it should happen.

 

“Ultimately the players are some of the vote going into whether a deal will happen or not, just like it was with SSG [Strategic Sports Group, which recently invested more than £1bn in the Tour],” Scott said. “With the seriousness of what we’re voting on, I think it is important that we’ve all met – no matter what anyone’s feelings are.”

 

Spieth concurred and said: “It is probably a good thing that the entire board should [meet with PIF]. Another player director in Peter Malnati added: “It is essential. I think there are players who have resistance to that relationship [between the PGA Tour and PIF], for sure. So that’s why I do think it’s important that our next step is to meet.”

 

Telegraph Sport understands that as yet the details of the gathering remain unconfirmed with one well-placed insider speculating that Al-Rumayyan might be waiting to see who exactly is accepting the invite before he, himself, commits.

 

The right-hand man to Mohammed bin Salman – the Saudi Crown Prince – has already met with PGA Tour officials and indeed, those from the DP World Tour. In December 2022, Al-Rumayyan linked up with Rory McIlroy in Dubai and that clandestine dinner was what ultimately led to the PGA Tour signing the ‘framework agreement’ that shocked the game last summer.

 

Yet since then, the Tour has accepted SSG’s private equity and player directors like Woods and Spieth have stated that a PIF investment might no longer be needed financially. Those claims infuriated McIlroy, who, despite being LIV’s most vocal critic for so long, is adamant that PIF must be included in the new order if the professional male game is to unite after so much turbulence.

 

 

LIV highlighted its financial might by luring Jon Rahm late last year and then by adding another Ryder Cup star in Tyrrell Hatton last month. Both would have been playing here at the Stadium Course this week, but because of jumping ship they are excluded from the Tour’s flagship event and are in exile alongside earlier high-profile defectors Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Cam Smith.

 

And with the Tour’s ratings plummeting so far this year, McIlroy insists the glaring absences from this £20million tournament further emphasises the necessity for a swift and amicable resolution. “Everyone just needs to try to put their feelings and egos aside and find a solution where we can bring all the best players back together,” he said. “I think fans are losing interest. So the faster we figure this thing out the better.”

 

McIlroy goes into the final round on nine-under, eight shots behind American Xander Schauffele. The Northern Irishman finished with three straight birdies in his 69, but he once again refused to talk to the media and instead headed directly to the range. The 14th is his nemesis. For the second day in succession, McIlroy double-bogeyed the par four.

 

Schauffele’s 65 saw him leapfrog countryman Wyndham Clark, the reigning US champion who shot a 70. Another stroke back in third is last year’s Open winner, Brian Harman, who conjured a 64. Looking to become the first English winner, Matt Fitzpatrick is on 13-under, four off the pace, following a 68 featuring four birdies in the last five holes.

 

 

Gideon Canice

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