Tiger Woods held his first press conference as a competitor since this year’s Masters when he withdrew after three rounds. This week, he is the last player to enter the Hero World Challenge, a tournament he hosts.
He said he made the decision to play after he caddied for his son Charlie and was able to recover well each day. Then of course, there was the matter of getting a spot.
“Talked to the (Hero World Challenge) committee, and a committee of one was able to give me a spot,” he added. Since he’s probably the committee, or someone from the sponsor is, it was an easy decision.
The timing of the event late in the year, he thinks, is a good way to gauge where his skill set is for the next season.
"“All the parties are talking, and we’re aggressively working on trying to get a deal done.” — Tiger Woods on deal with LIV/ PIF"
“It’s a nice landing spot. Also a good springboard into the following year, and my foundation benefits from it,” he added. There are nothing but positives about playing in the event as far as Woods is concerned.
There were three other topics front and center on everyone’s list of questions for Woods who is now on the Tour’s policy board: The status of the negotiations and plan going forward or not going forward with LIV; the PGA Tour players’ feelings about the June announcement regarding doing a deal with LIV; the possibility of Woods playing in 2024.
Negotiations toward a deal are slower than everyone likes, Woods admitted. They would all like it done yesterday.
"“December 31st is coming up very quickly, so there’s the timetable there that we would like to implement some of these changes that have not taken place,” he explained. “All the parties are talking, and we’re aggressively working on trying to get a deal done.”"
Though Tiger Woods did not say it, all sides probably have to remember that different cultures move at different speeds.
After all, the U.S. is the country that gave birth to Federal Express, absolutely, positively overnight. Other countries are not wired that way. Some cultures measure in millennia and some in milliseconds. (In the US, we know which we are.) Throw in some lawyers, and two weeks turns into two months in a heartbeat. Frustrations build. Rumors fly. Tensions mount.
One thing that is clear is that the PGA Tour players are not going to allow themselves to be blindsided as they were in June when a deal materialized without any of the players knowing and without the policy board voting. It was a shock to everyone. That was why Woods decided to become involved.
"“I was frustrated with the fact that the players were never involved,” he said. “We were all taken back by it. It happened so quickly without any of our involvement. No one knew. That can’t happen again.”"
And when Tiger Woods says it can’t happen again, take it to the bank.
Some PGA Tour members have expressed negative feelings about the two-level system of events. Woods said he is concerned about all the players and their abilities to have playing opportunities.
As far as Woods’ ability to play in 2024, he believes that the ankle fusion he had will allow him to play golf competitively, something he loves to do.
“I love competing, I love playing. I miss being out here with the guys,” he insisted. “I miss the camaraderie and the fraternity-like atmosphere out here and the overall banter. But what drives me is I love to compete.”
Right now, he is looking toward the Genesis. He noted that the best situation would be one tournament a month, starting with Genesis, then something near The Players.
The schedule for 2024 is set up with a big event each month, he explained. All he has to do is get himself ready for it. The Hero World Challenge, he added, is a big step in that direction.
Now, there are still many unanswered questions. Like, what happens if LIV golfers are allowed to return to the PGA Tour? Does the new entity want to have team golf and if so, how does it fit in?
Then there is the issue of what happens if a deal with the Public Investment Fund that owns LIV doesn’t work out.
“There’s so many different scenarios. That’s why I said there’s a lot of sleepless hours trying to figure that out,” Tiger Woods said.
“There are a lot of different options, a lot of different — a lot of different parts that are moving, trying to get a deal done whether it’s from all different types of money, what that looks like. But we have to protect what the Tour is for the players.”