‘They turn their backs on what got them there…’ Tiger Woods criticizes golfers for joining the dissident Saudi-backed league.

Tiger Woods was delighted, Tuesday 12 July, to participate, as of Thursday, in the British Open golf tournament at the historic St Andrews Course. He also took the opportunity to swipe at the players who joined the circle of opponents LIV, the lucrative league held by Saudi Arabia and former champion Greg Norman, at the expense of “sacred paths“.

At the end of June, the US Open announced that it would allow the participation of players who joined the LIV, such as Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson or even Bryson DeChambeau.

What do you think about enticing players to join the circle of LIV defectors?

tiger wood: They turned their backs on what got them to where they are. Some players do not even have experience in the ring (PGA). They’ve gone straight from the amateur circuit to this organization without ever having the chance to feel what it’s like to play on the track or in the major tournaments. And who knows what will happen to the world ranking points, what are the criteria for the grand play? Some of these players may never be able to play the Major, and they won’t have a chance to play in St Andrews or walk the lanes of Augusta. This, to me, is incomprehensible.

They charge expensive up front to play some tournaments on 54 holes [en trois jours au lieu de 72 trous en quatre tours sur le circuit classique]. I can understand that the upper circle consists of 54 holes, which are older and less physically strong. But when you’re young, and some of those guys are kids who are coming off golf enthusiasts, playing 72 holes is part of the difficulty. I remind you that the Majors played 36-hole playoffs [pour départager les joueurs à égalité après 72 trous] !

So I don’t see how this transition (to LIV) could be positive in the long run for many of these players, especially if LIV doesn’t get the world ranking points and the players don’t change their criteria. It would be sad to see some of these young players never set foot on these sacred courses.

After your car accident in February 2021 that nearly cost you your right leg, do you think you can someday return to St Andrews to play The Open?

Most of the time during rehab, I was just hoping I could walk again. Walk normally and have a normal life, even play a little golf with my son or my friends.

But finally, I was able to play a little bit in the competition this year. And when I realized I could play at a high level, even though it would never be about playing a full season again, my goal was to come back to St Andrews to play this most historic tournament in our sport.

How do you feel physically?

My body can definitely improve, but realistically not much better. He was badly abused and at the age of 46 she did not recover as she did at 26. But I am fortunate that in our sport you can continue to play at the age of 45 and beyond. 50 years in links type courses [parcours sablonneux, ouverts au vent, peu voire pas arborés] As in St Andrews. It takes a lot of skill to play well in these courses. And with lanes as fast and assertive as they are, it allows older players to dribble the ball and get a chance.

But in terms of preparation, when I arrived on Saturday, I didn’t hit a single ball. I just got close, hit, and walked (on the course). There was no tension. I just tried to find the sensations. While I was staying at the Golf Hotel, I checked out at 9:00 PM, went to one of the greens and played. Then, on Sunday, I played 18 holes. Monday, I played 9 and today (Tuesday) 9, and that will be it, Wednesday I rest.

Comments collected at a press conference.

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