Tiger Woods fears young LIV Golf recruits 'may never play in majors'
Speaking ahead of the 150th Open at St Andrews, Woods reiterated his opposition to the Saudi-backed breakaway circuit, which has been throwing money at players.
Woods reportedly turned down $1 billion himself, but Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson are believed to have signed up for $200 million and $125 million respectively.
Fellow major winners Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka and Patrick Reed are also among golf’s so-called ‘rebels’, as are European Ryder Cup stars Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter.
At the other end of the age and career ladder, 22-year-old Spaniard Eugenio Chacarra, the world No 2 amateur, made his professional debut in the second $25 million event in Oregon last month.
“I disagree with it,” said Woods of players leaving the established tours to join LIV Golf. “I think that what they've done is they've turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position.
“Some players have never got a chance to even experience it. They've gone right from the amateur ranks right into that organisation and never really got a chance to play out here and what it feels like to play a tour schedule or to play in some big events.
“And who knows what's going to happen in the near future with world-ranking points, the criteria for entering major championships.”
Woods, who, with 82 titles, shares the PGA Tour record for wins with Sam Snead, is adamant that what Norman is doing with LIV Golf is different to when Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer were among the payers who split from the PGA of America in the 1960s to form the PGA Tour.
“I understand what Jack and Arnold did because playing professional golf at a tour level versus a club pro is different, and I understand that transition and that move and the recognition that a touring pro versus a club pro is.
“But what these players are doing for guaranteed money, what is the incentive to practise? What is the incentive to go out there and earn it in the dirt?
“You're just getting paid a lot of money up front and playing a few events and playing 54 holes. They're playing blaring music and have all these atmospheres that are different.
“I can understand 54 holes is almost like a mandate when you get to the Senior Tour. The guys are little bit older and a little more banged up.
“But when you're at this young age and some of these kids - they really are kids who have gone from amateur golf into that organisation - 72-hole tests are part of it. We used to have 36-hole play-offs for major championships. That's how it used to be – 18-hole US Open play-offs.
“I just don't see how that move is positive in the long term for a lot of these players, especially if the LIV organisation doesn't get world-ranking points and the major championships change their criteria for entering the events.
“It would be sad to see some of these young kids never get a chance to experience it and experience what we've got a chance to experience and walk these hallowed grounds and play in these championships.”
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