Golf-PGA Tour and LIV Golf negotiations could keep Woods from Ryder Cup post


By Steve Keating

(Reuters) – Negotiations between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf backers the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) are progressing, Tiger Woods said on Tuesday, but with much work still ahead that could keep him from taking on the job of U.S. Ryder Cup captain.

A director on the PGA Tour policy board that is trying to hammer out an agreement with the PIF, Woods has had a very full plate while preparing for this week’s PGA Championship at the Valhalla Golf Club.

The 48-year-old, who also sits on the PGA Tour Enterprises board, has had to juggle several new business ventures along with the possibility of leading the U.S. against Europe when they host the Ryder Cup next year at Bethpage Black.

“We’re still talking,” said Woods, about the Ryder Cup. “There’s nothing that has been confirmed yet, we’re still working on what that might look like.

“Also whether or not I have the time to do it, I need to feel that I can give the amount of time that it deserves.

“We’re working on negotiations with PIF. It’s ongoing; it’s fluid; it changes day-to-day.

“We’re making steps and it may not be giant steps, but we’re making steps.”

Negotiations appear to be reaching a crucial moment with Jimmy Dunne, one of the key architects of the initial framework agreement between the PGA Tour and PIF, announcing on Monday he was stepping away from the policy board citing no meaningful progress was being made towards a deal.

Las week it was reported that one of the golf’s leading voices Rory McIlroy had his return to the policy board blocked by a small group of players, including business partner Woods, who dismissed the idea of any friction as nothing more than a difference of opinion.

“I think that we see it differently,” said the 15-times major winner. “But collectively as a whole we want to see whatever’s best for all the players, the fans, and the state of golf.

“How we get there, that’s to be determined, but the fact that we’re in this together and in this fight together to make golf better is what it’s all about.”

What all golfers seem to agree on is that a deal is needed or the situation risks further alienating fans, who want to see the world’s best go head-to-head and not a civil war between LIV and the PGA Tour for control of the sport.

The feuding has resulted in a significant drop in viewership, raising red flags with broadcasters and PGA Tour headquarters.

“I don’t like where it’s going,” said world number nine Max Homa. “It’s got to be exhausting to be a casual golf fan at this point in time.

“I don’t know why you would want to hear about the business side of this game.

“So, yeah, it is troubling I hope at some point soon we can just get back to entertaining people and playing golf and seeing who shoots the lowest score and not talking about our Player Advisory Council.

“We have a lot going on here, but hopefully at some point everybody can find the plot again.”

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis)

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