Tiger Woods Will Help Negotiate With LIV Golf’s Backer In Continued Try for Deal

A five-member group including Woods and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan will talk directly to the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

 

 

Tiger Woods is on a subcommittee that will have talks with LIV Golf’s backer, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. / Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

 

On a busy day that saw Rory McIlroy say he believed current player directors on the PGA Tour Policy Board were uncomfortable with him returning to that role, Tiger Woods emerged as the lone player on a group that will negotiate directly with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

 

Woods will be part of a five-member “transaction subcommittee,” according to the PGA Tour.

 

The Associated Press was the first to report the development Wednesday.

 

Woods, who joined the board last August in the aftermath of the surprise “framework agreement” that PGA Tour commissioner negotiated in secret with the PIF, is one of six player directors but the only one who does not have a set term.

 

Also on the subcommittee are Monahan, board chairman Joe Gorder, John W. Henry of Fenway Sports Group and Joe Ogilvie, a former tour player appointed as a director liaison in March. The subcommittee reports back to the full board, according to the AP.

 

Earlier, McIlroy disclosed that he was willing to rejoin the board that he left in November after being asked by Webb Simpson—who wanted to step down and have McIlroy take his place.

 

But unanimous board approval is required and McIlroy said there was resistance from some to his returning. Simpson subsequently said he will serve the remainder of his term.

 

“Today’s news is in no way a commentary on Rory’s important influence,” Monahan said in a statement given to Sports Illustrated via the PGA Tour. “It’s simply a matter of adherence to our governance process by which a Tour player becomes a board member.

 

“Webb remaining in his position as a member of the Policy Board and PGA Tour Enterprises Board through the end of his term provides the continuity needed at this vital time. We are making progress in our negations with the PIF and are working as a collective—the Player Directors, our Boards and Tour management—to remain open-minded to all avenues that advance the Tour in the best interest of our players, our partners and, most importantly, our fans.”

 

The original intent was to have a deal with the PIF—which backs the LIV Golf League—by Dec. 31. But that deadline passed and the PGA Tour subsequently made a deal with the Strategic Sports Group, a private-equity company of high-end sports and business owners, with an initial investment of $1.5 billion. The Tour has since announced equity shares that will vest over time to the players.

 

“I think there was a subset of people on the board that were maybe uncomfortable with me coming back on for some reason,” McIlroy said at the Wells Fargo Championship, which begins Thursday.

 

Woods has said previously he wants to preserve the PGA Tour in its present state. But he met with PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan along with other player directors in March and commented briefly on it at the Masters, saying “we’re headed in the right direction.”

 

McIlroy has expressed frustration over the slowness of the negotiations.

 

 

Bob Harig is a golf writer for SI.com and the author of the book “DRIVE: The Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods,” which publishes in March and can be ordered here. 

 

 

Gideon Canice

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