“I don’t agree with this [the players’ decision to join LIV Golf]”, the 15-time Major winner said on Tuesday. “I think what they did was they turned away from what allowed them to take this position.”
The controversial streak created controversy in the game. Several players, including major champions Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, joined the LIV Golf series, resulting in them being suspended from the PGA Tour.
The former racket of the world performs. 1 Greg Norman, The LIV Golf series is funded by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF), a sovereign wealth fund headed by Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
A US intelligence report named Bin Salman as responsible for approving the operation that led to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. Bin Salman denies any involvement in Khashoggi’s murder.
The PIF promised $250 million in total prize money, but the source of the money for the lucrative series drew criticism from the organizers and players for choosing to play with money from the country, given its reputation for human rights.
Human rights groups have criticized the country for carrying out mass executions and for its treatment of gay people.
“This is right”
The Royal and Ancient St. Andrews Golf Club, which hosts this year’s Open, refused to invite Norman, a two-time Open champion, to the Celebration of Champions event on Monday or Dinner Champions on Tuesday.
“Obviously, R&A has its own opinions, its own decisions, and its own decisions,” Woods said. “Greg has done some things that I don’t think are in the best interests of our game and we are going back to probably the most historic and traditional place in our sport. I think it’s right.”
Golfers participating in the LIV Golf Series said it was an opportunity to break the monopoly and reform the PGA Tour.
The PGA Tour and the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour) have long been the place where players go about their business on the golf calendar, with the exception of four major tournaments.
While the American and European tours have banned and fined anyone who joins the LIV series, the big players have so far allowed qualified golfers to continue to compete in golf’s most prestigious competition.
Woods said: “Who knows what will happen in the near future with world ranking points, the criteria for entering major championships?”
Woods, who will take part in the third tournament of his comeback after a career-threatening car accident that almost lost the American’s right leg, added: “It would be sad to see some of these young people that we have the chance to experience, walk these sacred lands and play in these championships.”
Rory McIlroy, the 2014 Open Champion and another LIV Golf series critic, observed that Woods’ career and legacy were built on the platform offered by the PGA Tour.
“These traditions and the history of the game are very important to him,” McIlroy said at a pre-tournament press conference. “And I think he doesn’t want it all to go away. I think that’s a big part of the reason his position is the way it is.”
CNN reached out to LIV Golf for comment but did not immediately receive a response.