Tiger Woods may not be playing in the 2022 Hero World Challenge, but that doesn't mean he is still not at the center of attention. In his first press conference in more than four months on Tuesday, Woods put on his commissioner's hat. While not officially in the position, the 15-time major champion was peppered with inquiries surrounding potential peace talks between the PGA Tour and rival league LIV Golf, and what exactly needs to happen for those discussions to take place.
"I see that there's an opportunity out there if both organizations put a stay on their litigation, but that's the problem, they've got to put a stay on it. And whether or not they do that or not, there's no willingness to negotiate if you have a litigation against you," said Woods. "So if they both have a stay and then have a break and then they can meet and figure something out, then maybe there is something to be had.
"But I think Greg [Norman] has to go, first of all, and then obviously litigation against us and then our countersuit against them, those would then have to be at a stay as well. So then we can talk, we can all talk freely."
The terms for compromise are clear in the eyes of Woods. Drop the lawsuits and drop Norman, and only then can the two golf leagues be able to join each other at the table for a conversation. The 46-year-old's words echoed those of his good friend and business partnerahead of the 2022 DP World Tour Championship.
"It has to start with leadership on their side," said Woods. "Understanding that what is happening right now is not in the best ... it's not in the best fit or future for the whole game of golf. Now, what is the best way for our game to grow? It's not this way. But, granted, you need to have the two bodies come together. If one side has so much animosity, someone trying to destroy our tour, then how do you work with that?"
LIV Golf and the PGA Tour have two court battles ongoing with an antitrust lawsuit from LIV Golf claiming the PGA Tour illegally suspended players for competing in LIV Golf events, while a countersuit from the PGA Tour claims LIV interfered with player contracts.
Once those legal proceedings are resolved and Norman is potentially removed, what would compromise between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf even look like? With the who taken care of, even Woods admits he has trouble seeing the what.
"We don't know. No one knows," Tiger said of what middle ground between the two tours would look like. "Right now, it's -- there's a lot of animosity, especially from their leadership. And they want to be a validated tour with world ranking points and they're buying up tours around the world, and I don't know -- I don't know what their end game is.
"It might be just being an official member of the golf ecosystem and being recognized with world ranking points. I think that's what their intended goal is. You know, they've spent probably close to $2 billion this year. Who's to say they can't spend 4 or $5 billion next year? You know, we just don't know. It's an endless pit of money. But that doesn't necessarily create legacies either. You want to compare yourself to [Ben] Hogan, you want to compare yourself to [Sam] Snead, you want to compare yourself to [Jack] Nicklaus, you can't do that over there, but you can on this Tour."