Tiger Woods wants PGA Tour to keep negotiating with PIF, LIV Golf even after new $3 billion investment

Tiger Woods is competing this week at the Genesis Invitational, his first tournament back since he withdrew from the Masters last April

LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods is all for a deal getting done between the PGA Tour, LIV Golf and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. But as those talks continue behind the scenes, Woods knows a deal isn't as big of a necessity as it once was.

Woods, speaking ahead of his return at the Genesis Invitational on Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles, was asked repeatedly about the state of the Tour amid the ongoing negotiations with the PIF and its new $3 billion investment from Strategic Sports Group. While a deal with the PIF would in theory bring the golf world back together, Woods noted that the Tour has now already received the money it needed in the short term.

“Ultimately, we would like to have PIF be a part of our Tour and a part of our product,” Woods said at Riviera Country Club. “Financially, we don’t right now, and the money that they have come to the table with and what we initially had agreed to in the framework agreement, those are all the same numbers. Anything beyond this is going to be obviously over and above. We’re in a position right now [where] hopefully we can make our product better in the short term and long term.”

Woods’ comments Wednesday echoed what fellow board member Jordan Spieth said last month at Pebble Beach. Spieth said a deal with the PIF isn't needed anymore, though the “positive thing would be a unification” of the golf world.

The Tour announced last month that SSG was investing up to $3 billion into the Tour, which will lead to the launch of PGA Tour Enterprises. That deal will allow players to have equity in the company, something that will help it directly compete with LIV Golf. The deal did not shut out the PIF and LIV Golf completely, and it allows for a “co-investment” that is “subject to all necessary regulatory approval.”

Tiger Woods is competing this week at the Genesis Invitational, his first tournament back since he withdrew from the Masters last April
Tiger Woods is competing this week at the Genesis Invitational, his first tournament back since he withdrew from the Masters last April. (Ben Jared/PGA Tour/Getty Images)

“At the end of the day, we're trying to provide the best entertainment, and in order to do that you have to have the best players play,” Woods said. “We want to have the history, involve the history and the traditions of the history of our tour and have the pathways, accessibility, have all of the intangibles that have made the PGA Tour what it is right now and what has been, and hopefully what it will continue to be even better.

"And how do we do that? That's the whole idea of why we have a group like SSG to provide us with information and help and trying to create the best tour we could possibly have.”

The LIV Golf-PGA Tour-DP World Tour merger deal, which stunned the golf world last summer, is still being negotiated. The two sides said they wanted to finalize that by the end of 2023, but they’ve since extended the deadline indefinitely.

“It’s an ongoing, fluid process,” Woods, who is a member of the Tour’s player board of directors, said plainly. He didn’t really get into details when pressed about the PIF repeatedly, and he said he has not spoken with anybody from the fund directly.

If the LIV Golf-PGA Tour deal ends up getting done, there will have to be a decision made on how LIV Golf members can return to the PGA Tour should they choose to do so. Some Tour golfers are now willing to welcome them back with open arms, while others want some sort of penalty implemented after what was largely a chaotic exit and period for the sport across the board.

Those discussions, Woods said, have been occurring on a daily basis. For now, it’s too early to know how best to handle the situation.

“We're looking into all the different models for pathways back,” Woods said. “What that looks like, what the impact is for the players who have stayed and who have not left and how we make our product better going forward, there is no answer to that right now. We're looking at very different, varying degrees of ideas and what that looks like in the short term, we don't know. We don't even know in the longer term what that looks like.”