Tiger Woods denounces Greg Norman, LIV Golf at British Open


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SAINT ANDREW, Scotland. Tiger Woods arrived at the historic 150th British Open and brought with him his voice, earned, found and endured. On Tuesday morning, he sounded like a statesman as he spoke without hesitation about the screaming, blatant problem ruining his sport: the Saudi-funded LIV Tour splinter. He even recoiled at the thought of loud music.

He began his press conference early by answering a question about the Royal & Ancient Golf Club in St Andrews’ decision to recall Greg Norman due to the distracting noise that Norman’s presence would cause given his chairmanship of the LIV Tour.

“R&A obviously has its own opinion, its own rulings and its own decision,” Woods said. “Greg has done some things that I don’t think are in the best interest of our game and we’re going back to probably the most historic and traditional place in our sport. I think it’s right.”

He later elaborated on several responses: “I know what the PGA Tour means, what we did and what this tour gave us, the opportunity to pursue our career and earn what we get and the trophies we were able to win. play and the story that was part of this game. I know Greg was trying to do this (rival tour) way back in the early 90’s. It didn’t work then, and he’s trying to make it work now.

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“I still don’t understand how this is in the interests of the game. What is the European Tour and what is the PGA Tour, what have they done, and all the professionals – all the governing bodies of the game of golf and all the major championships, how they run them. I think they see it differently than what Greg sees.”

And he didn’t waver in his calm response to a question about the group of players who had already defected, which included top winners Phil Mickelson, Brooks Kepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Louis Ousthuisen.

“I don’t agree with that,” Woods said. “I think what they did was they turned away from what allowed them to get to this position. Some players have never had the opportunity to even experience it. They went straight from the amateur ranks straight into this organization and they never got the chance to play here and experience what it’s like to play on the touring schedule or play at any big events. And who knows what will happen in the near future with world ranking points, the criteria for participation in major championships. Management needs to figure this out.

“Some of these players may never get a chance to play in major championships. … We don’t know for sure yet. This decision must be taken by all the main bodies of the championship. But chances are some players will never, never have a chance to play in a major championship, never have a chance to experience it right here or/or walk down the fairway at Augusta National. Which I think I just don’t get it.

“I understand what Jack (Nicklaus) and Arnold (Palmer) did (when they started the PGA Tour in the late 1960s) because playing professional golf at the tour level is different from club pro (level) and I understand this transition. and this move and the recognition that the touring pro is against the club pro.

“But what do these players do for guaranteed money, what is the incentive to train? What is the incentive to go there and make money in the dirt? You just get paid a lot of money up front and play multiple tournaments and play 54 holes. They play loud music and they have this whole different vibe.”

He trolls so softly.

“I understand that 54 holes is almost like a mandate when you get on the Senior Tour. The guys are a little older and a little more cheerful. But when you’re at such a young age and some of these kids – they’re really kids that have moved from amateur golf to this organization – 72 hole tests are part of that… It would be sad to see some of these young kids never get the chance. experience it and experience what we have a chance to experience, walk these sacred grounds and play in these championships.”

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Woods did express himself as “very optimistic” about the sport’s future, noting golf’s “greatest covid boom” and how golf has become an outdoor respite from indoor lockdowns. “Just look at the tour,” he said, “the average age is getting younger and younger and they are getting better earlier and faster and they are winning at an earlier age.

He spoke at length about the most sacred of these places, St. Andrews, which marks the anniversary with the number “150” ubiquitous here on shirts and signs. “This is my favorite,” he said of the field, and recalled playing in the 1995 tournament as an amateur alongside Ernie Els and Peter Jacobsen in the first two days. He talked about how timelessness outweighed the technology, so that on Tuesday, in strong winds, “at 10 I hit an iron 6 from 120 yards.”

And he sounded like an old man when he said, “And because the fairways are fast and steady, it allows older players to handle the ball and have a chance.”

This course won’t challenge his body like the rough edges of the Augusta National at the Masters in April or the Southern Hills at Tulsa at the PGA Championships in May. On these occasions, walking has surpassed golf as a challenge to a lower right leg damaged and filled with hardware following his frightening car accident in California in February 2021.

“It’s still not easy,” he said. “Of course, the slopes are not steep at all. This is not so – the descents are not steep. But it’s the inconsistency that still confuses me. I have a lot of equipment in my leg.” He said: “Playing Augusta, I didn’t know. My leg was in no condition to play 72 holes. Just ran out of gas. But now everything is different. He got a lot stronger, a lot better.”

If he once came here and ordered a wooden plank for his room to strengthen the mattress for his back, he now orders “more ice,” he says.

At the end, he asked another question, appropriate for a statesman, about whether he believed that the new generation shared his understanding of history. And while he said they can now check the history on their phones, he talked more about the history of golf that he knows. “I saw Bob Charles on the 18th strike,” he said. “I think he won in 63rd (exactly) or something like that. Just to be able to see it in person, live, God, it was so special. I just hope the kids appreciate it.” He finished: “You were never given anything. You have to go out there and earn it, and I earned it through the dirt. I’m very proud of it.”

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