Tiger Woods has taken aim at Greg Norman by insisting the LIV Golf chief executive has to step down in order to end “animosity” between the rebel circuit and the PGA Tour.
Woods has called for both sides in golf’s power struggle to drop legal action – LIV is suing the PGA Tour and vice-versa – but he believes that will be feasible only if Norman exits the scene. Woods seemed to suggest that the Australian was seeking to “destroy” the PGA Tour.
In mirroring the sentiment of Rory McIlroy, golf’s most famous figure took aim at Norman. “Greg has to go,” Woods said. Whether or not the Saudi Arabia‑backed LIV is of a mind to listen to the 15-time major winner is, of course, another matter. Woods and Norman have had a historically tricky relationship.
Asked whether LIV and golf’s traditional tours can co-exist, Woods said: “Not right now, not with their leadership, not with Greg there and his animosity towards the tour itself. I don’t see that happening.
“As Rory said, I think Greg’s got to leave and then we can eventually, hopefully, have a stay between the two lawsuits and figure something out. But why would you change anything if you’ve got a lawsuit against you? They sued us first. I see that there’s an opportunity out there if both organisations put a stay on their litigation but that’s the problem, they’ve got to put a stay on it.
“I think it has to start with leadership on their side. Understanding that what is happening right now is not the best fit or future for the whole game of golf. Now, what is the best way for our game to grow? It’s not this way. You need to have the two bodies come together. If one side has so much animosity, someone trying to destroy our tour, then how do you work with that?”
Woods remains broadly dismissive of players who have joined the lucrative LIV circuit. He has accused many of them of “disregarding” and “disrespecting” the PGA Tour.
“They [LIV] have spent probably close to $2bn this year,” Woods said. “Who’s to say they can’t spend $4bn or $5bn next year? It’s an endless pit of money. But that doesn’t necessarily create legacies. You want to compare yourself to Hogan, you want to compare yourself to Snead, you want to compare yourself to Nicklaus. You can’t do that over there.”
Not that a vociferous Woods regards everything in golf’s mainstream garden as rosy. A question about the official world golf ranking, which has recently been rejigged, prompted another candid response. “It’s a flawed system,” he said. “That’s something we all here recognise
“The field at Dubai [for the Tour Championship] got less points than Sea Island [for the RSM Classic] and more of the top players were in Dubai, so obviously there’s a flawed system.”
Woods was speaking in the Bahamas, where he had been due to compete in the Hero World Challenge but withdrew on Monday because of a heel problem. He carried a heavy limp when walking into the media centre.
The 46-year-old, who has played only nine competitive rounds in 2022, has encountered problems when trying to walk on course rather than ride in a buggy. Woods also revealed he had undergone a further two surgeries this year while refusing to detail the nature or date of them.
“When I was at home, I was shooting four, five, six, seven under par like it was nothing,” Woods said. “But I was in a cart. Now you add in walking and that goes away. So I need to get to where I can actually walk around and play that way. I’m not able to do that right now.”
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