Credited to CNN
When Tiger Woods was named the sixth player director on the powerful PGA Tour policy board on Tuesday, there was a significant change in who has power in golf.
After the controversial merger between the PGA Tour and Saudi-backed LIV Golf in June, this move gives the players one more seat on the board. Five people on the policy board are independent directors with backgrounds in business and law.
The PGA Tour said that the new agreement would allow the tour to stay a “player-driven organization” and that the tour is “for the players, by the players.” This comes at a time when professional golf is going through many changes. The PGA Tour also answered players’ concerns about transparency by saying that player directors would have a say in any changes that might be made to the tour.
Woods reportedly turned down almost $1 billion to play in LIV Golf. Adding Woods to the policy board gives players their loudest voice, given the 47-year-old’s influence on the sport and the fact that the merger is taking it into uncharted territory.
“It’s an honor to speak for the PGA TOUR players. This is a crucial time for the TOUR, and the players will do their best to ensure that any changes made are in the best interest of all TOUR stakeholders, including fans, sponsors, and players, Woods said in a statement. “The players thank Commissioner Jay Monahan for agreeing to talk about our concerns, and we look forward to sitting down with him to make the best decisions for the future of the game we all love.” I trust him with these changes in the future.”
Woods said something about the tour for the first time since the merger and as he heals from injuries. The Washington Post said that Woods was one of 41 players who sent a letter to Monahan on Monday asking for more say in how the tour is run.
Woods is one of the player directors, along with Rory McIlroy, Webb Simpson, Patrick Cantlay, Charley Hoffman, and Peter Malnati. McIlroy, one of the 41 players, said he would rather retire than play on the LIV Golf tour, even if it “were the last place on Earth to play golf.”
In secret talks, the Saudi Public Investment Fund-backed PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf merged, ending a fight that had been going on for a year. Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, and Bubba Watson are some top PGA golfers who accepted lucrative offers from LIV Golf.
People are worried about Saudi Arabia’s record on human rights and “sportswashing,” which uses sports to improve the country’s image. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, wrote to Monahan and LIV CEO Greg Norman about the Saudis’ possible interest in using “investments in sports to further the Saudi government’s strategic objectives.” He was one of many lawmakers on Capitol Hill who had questions about the merger.
If Woods is on the policy board, it could stabilize the professional golf world when things are uncertain.
“Tiger’s voice and leadership throughout his career have contributed immeasurably to the success of the PGA TOUR,” said Monahan in a statement. “To apply both to our governance and go-forward plan at this crucial time is even more welcome and important.” “I promise to do what needs to be done to make up for any trust or confidence lost when our Framework Agreement was announced by surprise.”
The framework agreement spells out how the two golf organizations will come together.
Colin Neville, a new player, and special adviser to the board of directors, will work with Woods on the framework agreement talks. Neville is a partner at the US investment bank The Raine Group, which backed the new Premier Golf League.