Sports | August 16, 2022 11:28 am

LIV Golf May Have a Point About Tiger Woods Doing the PGA Tour’s Bidding

Woods has been publicly ripping LIV Golf defectors

Tiger Woods waves to the crowd at the 150th Open at St Andrews.
Tiger Woods is carrying water for the PGA choice?
Kevin C. Cox/Getty

Accused of doing the PGA Tour’s bidding by ripping into his fellow golfers publicly for defecting to the LIV Golf Series in an antitrust lawsuit that was filed last a few weeks ago by players who joined the rebel circuit, 46-year-old golf superstar Tiger Woods appears to be doing just that.

According to ESPN, Woods is scheduled to meet with several of the top golfers in the world on Tuesday at the BMW Championship in Delaware to rally support around the PGA Tour in its battle with LIV Golf. “It’s a meeting to get the top 20 players in the world on the same page on how we can continue to make the PGA Tour the best product in professional golf,” a player who was invited to the meeting told ESPN.

Per the Official World Golf Ranking, none of the top 20 players in the world have defected to LIV…yet. (LIV defector Dustin Johnson is ranked No. 21.) Cameron Smith, ranked No. 2, is fully expected to join the new circuit once it resumes play next month in Boston. Smith, who is reportedly getting something in the neighborhood of $140 million to jump ship, may have company if he leaves, but so far nothing has been confirmed among the world’s top golfers.

Woods is hoping to keep it that way, apparently at the behest of the PGA Tour, which is exactly what LIV golfers, including Phil Mickelson, alleged in their lawsuit. “The Tour also got Tiger Woods to do its bidding and publicly criticize golfers — particularly younger golfers — for joining LIV Golf by suggesting they would never play in The Masters, The Open, or other Majors and would not earn OWGR points,” per the suit.

The LIV Golf series is not recognized by the Official World Golf Ranking, so its players have not received points from the new circuit’s first three events. While that may actually be a good thing for some players, including Mickelson, it has caused players like Johnson, who was ranked No. 3 in the world at the end of 2021, to plummet.

Another player who has fallen off a cliff in the rankings is Woods. Ranked No. 556 at the end of 2021, the 15-time major champion is now at No. 1102. Despite that, Woods is still working on behalf of the PGA Tour — just like LIV said he was. “He’s a PGA Tour ambassador like all the greats,” a PGA Tour player told ESPN. “He understands how good the tour was to him and his career.”

The BMW Championship, the second FedEx Cup playoff event, will begin Thursday.