PGA Tour brings in Tiger Woods to sort out LIV merger 'mess'

Tiger Woods

The appointment of Tiger Woods signifies the handing of control to the PGA Tour players – Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Tiger Woods has been persuaded to join the PGA Tour policy board and help sort out the “mess” of the controversial merger with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.

By bringing Woods on  board, Jay Monahan, the circuit commissioner, has effectively handed overall control to the players. Monahan – who returned to work only two weeks ago after being sidelined with an unnamed “medical condition’ – has been under fire ever since June’s shock announcement of the alliance with the funders of the LIV Golf.

Tour members who stayed loyal and turned down what in some cases amounted to hundreds of millions to join the breakaway league felt “betrayed” by the sudden about-turn after 18 months of bitter civil war.

At one fiery meeting, Monahan was told he should resign and at the Open 10 days ago, Ernie Els wondered how the Bostonian “is possibly still in his job – this is a mess”.

With negotiations between the Tour and the Public Investment Fund under way to try to reach an agreement by Dec 31, Monahan has been desperate to assuage his mutinous players and this latest move can be seen in the same light as his vow last week to reward those who rejected LIV with “significant financial packages”.

In Tuesday’s missive, the Tour declared that players will now have the final say on any deal with PIF. Woods, who has not played competitively since undergoing surgery on his right foot following the Masters, has said nothing publicly about the agreement, but previously has made his opposition to LIV crystal clear.

According to this announcement, Woods is being added to the Tour’s policy board, which will mean there are six players on the 11-strong panel, alongside five independent directors. Rory McIlroy is already in position around the table, with Patrick Cantlay, Charley Hoffman, Peter Malnati, and Webb Simpson.

“I am honoured to represent the players of the PGA Tour,” Woods said in a statement. “This is a critical point for the Tour, and the players will do their best to make certain that any changes made in Tour operations are in the best interest of all Tour stakeholders, including fans, sponsors and players.

“The players thank Commissioner Monahan for agreeing to address our concerns, and we look forward to being at the table with him to make the right decisions for the future of the game that we all love. He has my confidence moving forward with these changes.”

In the release, the Tour disclosed that the “player leaders joined together to uphold the Tour’s core principles and ask that certain steps be taken immediately.” Monahan agreed to those requests, which include:

  • Amending to the Policy Board’s governing documents that player directors must have involvement in and approve future major decisions.

  • The player directors’s special adviser, Colin Neville, being fully aware of negotiations around the framework agreement and having full access to documents and information.

  • Player directors having full transparency and authority to approve or decline any changes to the Tour as part of the framework agreement discussions.

What the PIF and the governor, Yasi Al-Rumayyan, will make of this overhaul remains uncertain. Al-Rumayyan has assured the LIV golfers that the league will continue, despite the “framework agreement” specifying that as the CEO of the new amalgamation Monahan will have the power to terminate the 14-event circuit.

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