November 28, 2023 – 9:00 PM PST
(Reuters) – Tiger Woods was left “frustrated” by the lack of player involvement in the PGA Tour’s talks with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) before their announcement of a framework agreement, the 15-times major winner said on Tuesday.
The PGA Tour, Europe-based DP World Tour and the PIF-backed LIV Golf circuit agreed to unify and move forward in a larger commercial business in June after an acrimonious legal battle lasting more than a year.
The agreement stunned the golf world and raised concerns in Washington over Saudi Arabia’s role in the deal and the risks posed by a foreign government entity assuming control over the sport.
Critics have accused the PIF of being a vehicle for the country to improve its reputation, or “sports-washing,” as it faces criticism of its human rights record.
The framework agreement is set to expire on Dec. 31 and while Woods said there were “multiple options” they still wanted a deal done by the end of the year.
“My reaction was surprised, just like I’m sure a lot of the players were taken aback,” said Woods, who is set to make his first PGA Tour start since undergoing ankle surgery in April at this week’s Hero World Challenge.
“So quickly without any input or any information about it, it was just thrown out there. I was very surprised that the process was what it was.
“We were very frustrated with what happened and we took steps going forward to ensure that we were not going to be left out of the process like we were. So part of that process was putting me on the board.”
Woods joined the PGA Tour’s policy board as player director in August.
The 47-year-old, who has played a limited schedule since suffering serious leg injuries in a 2021 car crash, also said he would keep playing until he feels that he can no longer be in contention for titles
“My game feels rusty. I haven’t played in a while,” he added. “There will come a time when I can no longer win. When that time comes, I will walk away.”
Woods has won the unofficial Hero World Challenge tournament in the Bahamas, which he hosts for the benefit of his foundation, five times between 2001 and 2011.
Reporting by Chiranjit Ojha in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford