The new “LIV Golf Series” that Saudi Arabia is behind was keen to get Tiger Woods to take part. Now it has become known with which sums the golf star should be lured.
Many of the Gulf states have become active in sport on a large scale, and the controversy is not only about the soccer World Cup in Qatar next winter. Again and again the accusation is made that by sponsoring teams and events social acceptance on a global level is to be bought. The example of Tiger Woods now shows what sums are involved there.
In an interview with the US broadcaster “Fox News”, the moderator Tucker Carlson asked the manager of the new tour Greg Norman whether the rumors about a 700 to 800 million US dollar that Woods allegedly had were true. “This sum was circulating before I became CEO,” Norman replied. “Well, that number was floating around, that’s right. Look, Tiger is an incredible influence.” Of course you want the “best of the best”. “They approached Tiger before I became CEO and the total was somewhere in that range,” Norman confirmed.
Woods declined huge sum
In an interview with the Washington Post in June, Norman spoke of a nine-figure sum that Tiger Woods was offered to take part. But the golf pro refused. Other stars of the sport were less squeamish. From Phil Mickelson to Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen, numerous major winners compete in the “LIV Golf Series”. The German professional Martin Kaymer is also there. A total of 250 million US dollars is up for grabs in prize money.
The extravagant golf tour is paid for by “Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF)”, as “CNN” reports. The foundation has Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, on its board of directors. Because of the allegations of human rights violations in the country, there was also criticism of the tour from the golf world. Rory McIlroy spoke out clearly against what he saw as a departure from the traditional values of golf.
“What is the motivation of these players?”
Tiger Woods also spoke very clearly to the participating players. On the sidelines of the British Open in St. Andrews, Scotland, the fifteen-time major winner said, according to “CNN”: “I think that they have turned away from everything that has brought them to this point.” A development that Woods sees obviously critical: “What is the motivation of these players who get a guaranteed sum? How are they supposed to motivate themselves to earn it out there in the dirt?” There, loud music is played on the golf course and the atmosphere is very different, Woods complained. “You just get paid a bunch of money up front and then play a couple of events and golf 54 holes.”
Also, Woods doesn’t think it will do the sport any good. He believes Greg Norman has done some things that are not in the best interest of the sport. This also applies to the participating players, says Woods: “I don’t see how this move can bring positives for these players. Especially if the LIV organization doesn’t get any world ranking points.” It would be particularly sad for some of the young players if that meant they never got the chance to play on the major tour and experience the competitions on this sacred ground, Woods added.
In the video: Open fans with LIV golf criticism and Tiger praise