Adam Scott Insists There's No Animosity on PGA Tour Board

The Aussie is part of a subcommittee with Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods that will negotiate with LIV Golf's backer and said it's important that both have a voice.
Adam Scott has a seat on the subcommittee that will seek to unify the pro game.
Adam Scott has a seat on the subcommittee that will seek to unify the pro game. / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Network

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Golf’s behind-the-scenes drama took a turn this week with Rory McIlroy’s disclosure that he won’t be a part of the PGA Tour Policy Board but will be on a subcommittee that negotiates directly with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia.

And with reports that there is a rift among the six player directors, some of whom are allegedly taking a hard line against a deal while others would like to see compromise.

Adam Scott pushed back on the latter Sunday, putting forth a positive spin on all the developments, saying what is occurring is complicated and that patience is needed.

“I would disagree completely,” Scott said when asked about the alleged disagreement. “I don’t see it that way at all.”

Scott is a player director along with Tiger Woods, Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, Webb Simpson and Peter Malnati, all of whom played in the Wells Fargo Championship.

The 2013 Masters champion was named on Thursday by the PGA Tour to a transaction committee that includes McIlroy, Woods, PGA Tour commissioner, player liaison Joe Ogilvie, Joe Gorder, a board member from Valero Energy and John Henry from Strategic Sports Group.

Scott said Ogilvie, a former Tour player, is a huge asset and making it easier for the player directors to concentrate on their golf while getting updates on the intricate matters.

“It became a bigger drama than was really needed,” said Scott, 43, who has 14 victories on the PGA Tour and played it for more than 20 years. “Ultimately we got to a really positive outcome. Tiger and Rory are both going to be right there before anything goes beyond that committee. And I think that’s really important at the end of the day that Tiger has a say in how professional golf shakes out on the PGA Tour, something he’s really influenced the evolution of.

“And Rory is the most influential active player. Tiger’s not quite as active as Rory. But Rory’s had a strong voice over the last couple of years. Whatever the result, if they achieve a result together, it’s unquestionable whatever that result is and it’s all positive moving forward.”

Simpson had sought to have McIlroy replace him on the board a few weeks ago when he was considering leaving the post. McIlroy had resigned in November but has become dismayed over the lack of movement toward unification or a deal with the PIF, which backs LIV Golf.

Golf Digest reported that Woods, Cantlay and Spieth did not want McIlroy to return while the other board members have been more receptive to working something out.

Scott denied that was the case. And he said the private equity deal with the Strategic Sports Group which was announced in January and saw an initial investment of $1.5 billion to PGA Tour Enterprises has delayed the situation with the PIF due to its complexity.

“Both sides said that the SSG deal was one of the most complicated deals they’ve ever been involved in. Both sides,” Scott said. “And I can only think this (with the PIF) is going to be as complicated. So some patience is required. There are even more complications to iron out. As PIF is funding LIV and how all this moves forward.

“I’m keen for it to be resolved. But I’m not keen to rush something through that’s wrong. I’m putting my player hat on. There’s guys livelihoods out here and I think the core of our game is great and that will aways rise above it if we let it.”

Scott was among those who went to the Bahamas in March to meet with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the PIF who has been behind the LIV Golf League and its team model. “It was more formalities,” Scott said.

But he added: “To be totally honest, I think Rory is going to be incredibly helpful having that line of communication he has with Yasir. I think we’ll get to a good place. I’m really positive. I think it’s all moving in a good spot. Even though it seems rather tumultuous but it probably realistically wasn’t going to happen that fast anyway.

“And when these guys who have done a lot of deals through their lives say this is the most complex thing they’ve ever seen ... I can only imagine.”

Scott said he has no idea what the future of professional golf will look like, but he does wonder if players today realize that they might need to do more in order to be compensated at even higher levels.

PGA Tour Enterprises is a for-profit entity and to get sponsors and TV deals that provide even more revenue is going to mean commitment from the players. As he noted, playing for a $20 million purse in Charlotte would have seemed absurd even five years ago.

“If we want to play for big money, there are going to be more rules,” Scott said. “They’ll have to show up. And do some stuff. I think we do nothing, actually. To be honest, it has been the dream situation. We’re really not told much. Even when a strength-of-field rule was added (requiring players to an an event they had not attended for four years). That’s how good we’ve had it. Incredibly good.

“If you’re a full-card carrier, it’s pretty easy to make a schedule out here and do whatever the hell you want. And there’s very little obligation outside of doing a pro-am. I just think there’s nothing wrong with that at all. And playing for $20 million is almost unfathomable. Even for me, coming behind Tiger. I don’t even know what the purses were in Europe when I turned pro. I can’t believe we’re playing for a $20 million purse It’s gone nuts.”


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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.