Tiger Woods Calls PGA Tour/LIV Golf Bahamas Meeting 'Positive' But Deal Remains Distant

After his Sunday round at the Masters, Woods offered his first comments on the meeting which included Saudi Public Investment Fund governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan.
Apr 14, 2024; Augusta, Georgia, USA; Tiger Woods chips on the 18th hole during the final round of
Apr 14, 2024; Augusta, Georgia, USA; Tiger Woods chips on the 18th hole during the final round of / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

AUGUSTA, Ga. — In his first comments about the meeting last month he attended with the head of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, Tiger Woods called it “positive” but didn’t suggest the sides are any closer to a deal.

Woods, now a player director on the PGA Tour Policy Board, hosted a meeting March 18 in the Bahamas that was attended by other board members, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the PIF which also backs LIV Golf.

The subject was not broached during Woods’s pre-tournament media conference at Augusta National and media access was brief following the second and third rounds of the tournament.

In a five-question session on Sunday after Woods finished his final-round 77, Woods was asked his impressions of Al-Rumayyan and if he felt the PGA Tour was any closer to a deal with him.

“I don't know if we're closer, but certainly we're headed in the right direction,” Woods said. “That was a very positive meeting, and I think both sides came away from the meeting feeling positive.”

Woods and Al-Rumayyan played golf on the Albany course near Nassau where Woods hosts the annual Hero World Challenge.

The meeting included all six player directors. In addition to Woods, Webb Simpson, Peter Malnati, Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay were also there, along with newly-appointed board liaison Joe Ogilvie.

Monahan was also joined by a few representatives of the Strategic Sports Group.

Details from what occurred at the meeting have been vague but it appears the sides are no closer to any kind of agreement than they were 10 months ago when the June 6 “framework agreement” was announced.

Monahan sent a memo to PGA Tour players following the meeting, which was meant to have Al-Rumayyan meet players for the first time and explain his thinking about potential PIF investment in PGA Tour Enterprises, the new for-profit entity that was established earlier this year with SSG’s investment, which could be up to $3 billion.

“What I was interested in going there was to learn more about who he is and what he’s thinking,” Simpson said during an interview last month at the Valspar Championship. “Learn about LIV more. What was your intention and hope there? How’s it going? All that kind of stuff. A meet and greet and learn. I think he wanted to learn from us kind of what we think. We wanted to figure out what he thinks.”

According to Simpson, the meeting did not involve negotiating but more of a big picture of the PIF’s intentions. The sovereign wealth fund is invested in hundreds of companies around the world with a worth in excess of $700 billion. It has invested heavily in sports, including the Premier League, tennis, Formula One racing and golf.

“If definitely seems like he envisions a place in the game of golf,” Simpson said. “We didn’t get as far as what he wants and what does LIV want. He certainly seems engaged enough in the game already that he has desires to see the game grow globally, I think it’s fair to say. And he mentioned growing it in Saudi to try and do that.”

The Masters was the first time since last year’s British Open at Royal Liverpool that players from the LIV Golf League played in the same tournaments as PGA Tour players. And it won’t happen again until next week’s PGA Championship.

“There's a lot of people a lot smarter than me that could figure this out in a much more efficient way,” said Jon Rahm, who won the 2023 Masters and went to LIV Golf in December. “But the obvious answer is that there's got to be a way for certain players in whatever tour to be able to earn their way in.

“That's the only thing can I say. I don't know what that looks like. But there's got to be a fair way for everybody to compete.”


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Bob Harig

BOB HARIG

Bob Harig is a senior golf writer for Sports Illustrated. He has more than 25 years experience covering golf, including 15 at ESPN. Bob is a regular guest on Sirius XM PGA Tour Radio and has written two books, DRIVE: The Lasting Legacy of Tiger Woods and Tiger and Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry. He graduated from Indiana University where he earned an Evans Scholarship, named in honor of the great amateur golfer Charles (Chick) Evans Jr. Bob, a former president of the Golf Writers Association of America, lives in Clearwater, Florida.