Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund-backed LIV Golf has taken the world of golf by storm as a rival to the established PGA Tour and DP World Tour. Launched in June 2022, the series has attracted some of the biggest names in the field of golf, such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia, and others.
However, the legendary golfer Tiger Woods has turned down the offer to join Liv Golf which was approximately worth in the range of $700 million-$800 million, as per the tour’s CEO Greg Norman. He revealed that Woods was approached by LIV Golf before he became CEO, and Woods declined the offer. Norman also said that Woods is a “needle-mover” who can attract fans and sponsors to any golf event.
Tiger Woods rejected an offer around $700-$800 million to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series, CEO Greg Norman said. https://t.co/b5O57SfwFa
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 2, 2022
Woods has not publicly commented on his decision to reject LIV Golf, but he has previously expressed his loyalty to the PGA Tour and his opposition to the Saudi-backed series. In July 2022, Woods said, “It’s definitely historic news, we’ll have to wait to see if it’s a positive history,” and that he was concerned about the impact of the breakaway tour on the future of the sport. Woods also said that he was proud of his achievements on the PGA Tour, where he has won 82 tournaments, including 15 majors.
What are the controversies surrounding LIV Golf?
LIV Golf has faced criticism from various quarters for its association with Saudi Arabia, which has been accused of human rights violations and involvement in the 9/11 attacks. The PGA Tour has banned its members from participating in LIV Golf events and has threatened to revoke their membership and eligibility for majors and Ryder Cup if they do so. The DP World Tour, formerly known as the European Tour, has also expressed its disapproval of LIV Golf and its intention to protect its own schedule and interests.
A Statement from Phil Mickelson pic.twitter.com/2saaXIxhpu
— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) February 22, 2022
Some sponsors have also dropped their support for Liv Golf players, citing ethical concerns. For example, Callaway Golf terminated its contract with Phil Mickelson after he joined LIV Golf, saying that it did not align with its values and vision. Norman has defended LIV Golf and accused its critics of hypocrisy, saying that many of them do business with Saudi Arabia or have ties with other countries with questionable records.
LIV Golf is an ambitious but controversial project that has shaken up the golfing world. Whether it will succeed or fail remains to be seen.