Woods calls for Norman to step down as head of LIV
Tiger Woods has joined Rory McIlroy in calling for Greg Norman to step down as head of the LIV Golf Tour.
Woods believes it is possible for the PGA Tour to negotiate a deal with the Saudi-funded LIV Tour, but only if Norman gets on board.
Earlier this month, McIlroy said the former Australian world number one needed to “go off stage left”.
Speaking ahead of this week’s Hero World Challenge, Woods asked LIV to suspend its legal action against the PGA Tour.
“I think Greg needs to go, first of all,” Woods, 46, said. “And then obviously the litigation against us and then our lawsuit against them, then they should be on hold as well.
“So we can talk, we can all talk freely.”
Woods accused the LIV Tour of stirring up “animosity” after recruiting several big names, including Open champion Cameron Smith and other major winners like Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, with huge signing fees.
LIV promises a 14-tournament super league next year, using its 54-hole shotgun start format, which features 48-player fields.
“There’s a lot of animosity, especially for his leadership,” said Woods, who matched Sam Snead’s record 82 PGA Tour wins before injuries cut short his playing career.
“And they want to be a validated tour with world ranking points and they’re buying tours all over the world and I don’t know what their end game is.
“It can be just being an official member of the golf ecosystem and being recognized with world ranking points. I think that’s what they’re going for.
“You know, they’ve probably spent close to $2 billion this year. Who’s to say they can’t spend $4 billion or $5 billion next year? We don’t know. It’s a never-ending pit of money.
“But that doesn’t necessarily create legacies either. You want to compare yourself to yourself [Ben] Hogan, you want to compare yourself to Snead, you want to compare yourself to you [Jack] Nicklaus, you can’t do that there, but you can on this Tour.”
In Dubai two weeks ago, McIlroy said Norman had to step down from his role as commissioner and chief executive if there was to be peace between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf. “No one will talk unless there’s an adult in the room,” said the current world number one.
It was reported that LIV was lining up Mark King, the former boss of golf manufacturer Taylormade, to replace Norman, but this was strongly denied.
LIV Golf chief executive Majed Al-Sorour said in response to the Daily Telegraph report: “Greg Norman is our chief executive and commissioner. Any suggestion that changes are being made to Greg’s title or role is obviously false.”
Woods says it’s impossible for both organizations to coexist with the current setup. “Not with his leadership, not with Greg there and his animosity towards the tour itself,” he said.
“I don’t see that happening. Like Rory said, and I said it too, I think Greg needs to go and then hopefully we can sit between the two lawsuits and figure something out.
“But why would you change anything if you have a lawsuit against you? We got sued first.”
LIV launched its antitrust lawsuit against the US-based circuit after players who joined the breakaway setup were suspended indefinitely from the PGA Tour. A trial date has been set for January 2024.
The PGA Tour has filed a counterclaim and there are separate legal proceedings between LIV and the European-based DP World Tour, which will be heard in February next year.
“I think it has to start with the leadership on his side,” Woods added. “Understanding that what is happening now is not the best for the future for the entire game of golf.
“Now, what’s the best way for our game to grow? It’s not like that. But it’s true, the two bodies need to come together. If one side has so much animosity, someone tries to destroy our tour, then how are we going to do it. do you work with that?”
“Charlie will call all the shots”
Woods also revealed that he had two surgeries this year on his right leg, which he severely injured in a car accident in February 2021.
Refusing to elaborate, he admitted the damage he suffered contributed to the plantar fasciitis that has forced him out of this week’s tournament. He has not played since missing the cut at the St Andrews Open last July.
Woods still plans to play with his son Charlie at the PNC Championship in Florida next month, when he can ride in a buggy, and at The Match on Dec. 10, when he will partner McIlroy against Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
“Pare-Sil will be a very easy week,” said the former world number one. “Charlie’s just going to hit all the shots and I’m going to get the putts out of the hole, so pretty easy there.”
As for returning to competitive golf, Woods reiterated that he will play sparingly in the future. “The aim is to play only the big championships and maybe one or two more, physically that’s all I can do,” he said.
“I don’t have much left at this stage, so get ready for the big ones and hopefully, you know, lightning catches a bottle and I’m up there fighting with a chance to win and hopefully I’ll remember how to do that. “