Tiger Woods criticizes LIV golfer Greg Norman at the British Open

St. ANDREWS, Scotland — Tiger Woods, clearly enthralled by his improbable return to the sport’s oldest course, offered a strong rebuke Tuesday to players, past and present, who joined the rebel Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series.

He blasted Greg Norman, the major champion turned LIV chief executive, for doing something not in the “best interests of our game” and backed his effective ban from this year’s British Open at St Andrews. He said young players leaving the PGA Tour “have turned their backs on what got them to this position.” And he questioned whether the LIV model — 54-hole, continuous tournaments for players who earn guaranteed money — would allow golf and its best players to thrive.

“I understand that 54 holes is almost like a mandate when you go on the senior tour — the guys are a little bit older and a little bit more stuck — but when you’re at that young age and some of the kids — they’re really kids that have gone from amateur golf to this organization — 72- The hole tests are part of that,” Woods, 46, said at a press conference two days before the scheduled start of the Open on the Scottish coast.

“I just don’t see how this move is positive in the long term for many of these players, especially if the LIV organization doesn’t accept world ranking points and the major championships change the criteria for participating in events,” he said. was added.

Woods avoided outright condemnation of current players who joined LIV for staggering sums, including Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed, as well as lesser-known golfers.

But he pointedly questioned Norman, who has been so divisive in golf that the R&A, the Open’s organiser, admitted at the weekend that he had not invited him to Tuesday’s dinner for past Open champions.

“I know Greg tried to do it back in the early ’90s,” Woods said of Norman’s quest to challenge golf’s long-established order. “It didn’t work then and he’s trying to make it work now. I still don’t see how that is in the best interests of the game.”

Woods also supported Norman’s move to the R&A, which previously called the decision “petty”.

“Greg has done some things that I don’t think are in the best interest of our game, and we’re going back to perhaps the most historic and traditional place in our sport,” Woods said. “I believe it is right.”

Woods’ case against LIV comes as he prepares for what he admitted Tuesday could be his final Open at his favorite course.

“I’m never going to play a full schedule again,” said Woods, who underwent aggressive rehabilitation after a car accident in February 2021 that led doctors to consider leg amputation. “My body just won’t let me do it. I don’t know how many Open Championships I have left here at St. Andrews, but I wanted it. For me, it started here in ’95 and if it ends here in ’22, it ends here. If it’s not, it’s not. If I get a chance to play one more, that would be great, but there are no guarantees.”

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