Tiger Woods to be lone player on negotiating committee with Saudis

May 9, 2024

Tiger Woods will be the lone player on a five-member subcommittee that will be involved in negotiations with the Public Investment Fund, part of a busy day of governance as the PGA Tour tries to strike a deal with Saudi backers of LIV Golf.Woods was appointed to the PGA Tour board in August, making him the sixth player-director and the only one whose board term has no limits.The tour said Woods will be part of the “transaction subcommittee” on the board of PGA Tour Enterprises that will handle day-to-day negotiations as PIF seeks to become a minority investor.Also on the subcommittee are PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, board chairman Joe Gorder, John W. Henry of Fenway Sports Group and Joe Ogilvie, a former tour player appointed as a director liaison in March.The subcommittee reports back to the full board.The developments capped a day that began with Rory McIlroy losing the inside track on rejoining the board as Webb Simpson’s replacement when board members resisted his return.“I think there was a subset of people on the board that were maybe uncomfortable with me coming back on for some reason,” McIlroy said at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina, where a $20 million signature event is being played.FILE – Nelly Korda watches her shot during the final round of the Chevron Championship LPGA golf tournament Sunday, April 21, 2024, at The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands, Texas. Following two weeks off, Nelly Korda will be going for a record-setting sixth straight win in the Cognizant Founders Cup at the Upper Montclair Country Club. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)After appearing on red carpet at Met Gala, Nelly Korda goes for a sixth straight win on LPGA TourRory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, reacts after making birdie on the 16th hole during the final round of the PGA Zurich Classic golf tournament at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, La., Sunday, April 28, 2024. Rory McIlroy won’t rejoin PGA Tour board, says others were ‘uncomfortable’ with his potential returnPatrick Reed reacts to his tee shot on the fourth hole during final round at the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club Sunday, April 14, 2024, in Augusta, Ga. PGA Championship invites 7 LIV players to get top 100 in the worldSimpson had offered to resign, but only if McIlroy were to replace him. When a player director resigns, the other players on the board have to unanimously agree on a successor. McIlroy resigned from the board in November, and the players selected Jordan Spieth to replace him.The seven players — Woods, Spieth, Simpson, Ogilvie, Patrick Cantlay, Adam Scott and Peter Malnati — are on the board of the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Enterprises, the commercial entity that agreed to a deal with Strategic Sports Group as a minority investor.That deal included a $1.5 billion investment, which could be as much as $3 billion.McIlroy was willing to return, believing he could help find a solution to the split in golf that has left some of the best players on two tours. McIlroy sees the reunification in some form as the ultimate goal and rubbed players the wrong way when he suggested earlier this year that LIV players return without punishment.“Today’s news is in no way a commentary on Rory’s important perspective and influence,” Monahan said in a statement. “It’s simple a matter of adherence to our governance process by which a tour player becomes a board member.“Webb remaining in his position as a member of the policy board and PGA Tour Enterprises board through the end of his term provides the continuity needed at this vital time,” he said. “We are making progress in our negotiations with the PIF.”McIlroy is certain to stay involved in an unofficial capacity based on his experience of two years on the board and his voice in the game. He was the only European tour member on the PGA Tour board, and McIlroy has cultivated relationships across continents during his career.He had said on a British soccer podcast at the start of this year that he met with the PIF governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in late 2022 and that he returned home and encouraged the tour board to meet with him.The framework agreement among the PGA Tour, European tour and PIF was announced June 6, with a deadline to finalize it by the end of 2023. Negotiations continue with little progress.Woods was among the player directors who went to the Bahamas on March 18 — Monahan and Henry also attended — to meet with Al-Rumayyan.Woods said at the Masters about that meeting, “I don’t know if we’re closer, but certainly we’re headed in the right direction. That was a very positive meeting, and I think both sides came away from the meeting feeling positive.”Gorder is the chairman and CEO of Valero, the title sponsor of the Texas Open. He has been appointed the inaugural chairman of the PGA Tour Enterprises board._