LIV Golf has sensationally accused the PGA Tour of using Tiger Woods to “publicly criticise” players who joined the controversial tour.
Fifteen-time major winner Woods rejected a staggering $1 billion offer to join the Saudi-funded breakaway group, which is being spearheaded by Aussie legend Greg Norman.
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Woods publicly said last month that he disagreed with the concept and now the PGA Tour has been accused of getting Woods, 46, to “do its bidding” by slamming those who have joined the LIV Series, The Sun reports.
Australian Cameron Smith is alleged to be the latest star to have joined Norman’s revolution in a deal worth $140m.
But LIV’s allegations, as reported by the Daily Mail, are that Woods criticised “particularly younger golfers” for their decision to join the tour.
Eleven LIV players filed an antitrust lawsuit in the United States against the PGA Tour earlier this month after they were banned from competing.
Mexican golfer Carlos Ortiz later withdrew from the accusers that include major stars like Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and Ian Poulter. They claim they have been punished for joining the LIV series after being suspended from the PGA Tour.
Part of the lawsuit read: “The Tour also got Tiger Woods to do its bidding and publicly criticise golfers — particularly younger golfers — for joining LIV Golf by suggesting they would never play in The Masters, The Open, or other Majors and would not earn OWGR (Official World Golf Ranking) points.”
It also said that Woods’ words “echoed earlier evidence indicating that the Tour was continuing to pressure the Majors to join the Tour’s unlawful group boycott to exclude LIV Golf and punish any players who played in any LIV events”.
Woods said last month: “I disagree with those who have gone to LIV, I think they have turned their back on what allowed them to get to this position. Some players have never had a chance to even experience playing on one of the tours.
“They have gone right from the amateur ranks to that organisation and never really had a chance to feel what it is like to play a schedule or play in big events.
“Some of these players may never even get a chance to play in major championships. That is a possibility. They will never get a chance to experience this right here. Walk down the fairways at Augusta National.
“I don’t understand it. What these players are doing for guaranteed money, what is the incentive to practice? What is the incentive to go out there and earn it in the dirt?”
Woods also said he doesn’t see how LIV Golf is a “positive in the long term” for the game of golf.
“You are just getting paid a lot of money upfront and playing a few events and playing 54 holes,” he added.
“They are playing blaring music. I can understand 54 holes for the Senior Tour. The guys are older and a little more banged up. When you are young, 72-hole tests are part of it. We used to have 36-hole playoffs for majors.
“I just don’t see how this is positive in the long term. It would be sad to see some of these young kids never get a chance to walk these hallowed grounds and play in these majors.”
This article first appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission