Sports | July 12, 2022 11:56 am

Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods Take Shots at Greg Norman and LIV Golf

The two golf icons backed the PGA Tour while speaking ahead of the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews

Tiger Woods poses for a photo with Jack Nicklaus prior to The 150th Open at St Andrews Old Course in Scotland.
Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus have got the PGA Tour's back.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty

With the former being too rich and the latter being too far along in his career to have any reason to consider joining LIV Golf, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus backed the PGA Tour while speaking ahead of the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews and teed off on the upstart series as well as its leader Greg Norman.

Nicklaus, who has previously said he was “offered something in excess of $100 million by the Saudis to do the job probably similar to the one that Greg is doing” but rejected the offer because he supports the PGA Tour, was fairly delicate in his criticism of Norman and the LIV Series. But the 18-time major winner was critical.

“Let me just sum this up with a couple of words,” he told the media. “First of all, Greg Norman is an icon in the game of golf. He’s a great player. We’ve been friends for a long time and, regardless of what happens, he’s going to remain a friend. Unfortunately, he and I just don’t see eye to eye on what’s going on. I’ll basically leave it at that.”

Woods did mention Norman (“Greg has done some things that I don’t think is in the best interest of our game”), who was disinvited from the dinner for past Open champions at St. Andrews this week by the R&A due to his involvement with LIV, by name but he didn’t personally go after any of the players who’ve defected to LIV. However, the 15-time major champion didn’t pull any touches when he was asked about PGA Tour players joining the Saudi-backed series. “I disagree with it,” Woods said. “I think that what they’ve done is they’ve turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position.”

He also questioned what former PGA Tour players were risking by joining up with Norman’s rival tour. “Who knows what’s going to happen in the near future with world-ranking points, the criteria for entering major championships,” he said. “The governing body is going to have to figure that out. 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.”

A new United States Department of Justice antitrust investigation regarding the measures the PGA Tour has taken to prevent players from joining up with Norman and LIV Golf should only make the waters surrounding what is already a complicated situation murkier. It’s a fascinating story. Hopefully it leads to some compelling golf.

The Open tees off at St. Andrews on Thursday. PGA Tour star Rory McIlroy, who has also been vocal about LIV, is the favorite to claim the Claret Jug.