150th Open Championship
Woods takes aim at LIV rebels chasing the money
If there was any doubt as to where Tiger Woods stands in relation to the rebel LIV Golf Series, he made his opposition to the breakaway league crystal clear ahead of the start of the 150th Open Championship.
As he prepared to launch his bid for a fourth Claret Jug at St Andrews tomorrow, the 46-year-old took aim at the Saudi-backed breakaway, which has thrown the sport into chaos.
“What these players are doing for guaranteed money, what is the incentive to practise?” he said.
“What is the incentive to go out there and earn it in the dirt? You’re just getting paid a lot of money up front and playing a few events and playing 54 holes.
“I think that what they’ve done is they’ve turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position.”
The 15-time major winner added: “Some of these players may not ever get a chance to play in major championships.
“That is a possibility. We don’t know that for sure yet. It’s up to all the major championship bodies to make that determination. But that is a possibility, that some players will never, ever get a chance to play in a major championship, never get a chance to experience this right here, walk down the fairways at Augusta National.
“That, to me, I just don’t understand it.
“I know what the PGA Tour stands for and what we have done and what the tour has given us. The ability to chase after our careers and to earn what we get and the trophies we have been able to play for and the history that has been a part of this game.”
Woods, competing again after battling back from serious leg injuries suffered in a car accident last year, said he agreed with the R&A’s decision not to invite LIV Golf figurehead and former Open champion Greg Norman to the past champions gathering this week.
“Greg has done some things that I don’t think is in the best interest of our game,” said the former world No. 1, “and we’re coming back to probably the most historic and traditional place in our sport. I believe it’s the right thing.”
Woods tees off alongside recently crowned US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick and Max Homa in tomorrow’s first round at 2.59pm.
Rory McIlroy, another high-profile critic of the LIV Golf set-up, is in one of the marquee groups, going out with defending champion Collin Morikawa and Scottish Open winner Xander Schauffele at 09.58.
Scotland’s Paul Lawrie has been given the honour of hitting the first tee shot of the 150th Open, the 1999 champion setting an early alarm to ensure he’s ready for the 6.35am start.