Tiger Woods says fans are 'tired' of talk but warns there is still a long way to go'

Tiger Woods speaks during press conference ahead of the 106th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Picture: Michael Reaves/Getty Images.Tiger Woods speaks during press conference ahead of the 106th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Picture: Michael Reaves/Getty Images.
Tiger Woods speaks during press conference ahead of the 106th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. Picture: Michael Reaves/Getty Images.
PGA Tour policy board member admits resignation of one of main brokers in deal with Saudis was ‘surprising’

Tiger Woods talked about fans being “tired” and Max Homa admitted it is “exhausting” for them. A major may be on the line in this week’s 106th PGA Championship at Valhalla, but the current state of the game remains a major talking point and high-profile figures are losing patience over a matter that is turning into a saga.

On Monday, Jimmy Dunne, one of the brokers of the PGA Tour’s framework agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, sensationally resigned from the US circuit’s policy board. The shock development, which saw Dunne step down from the role with immediate effect, came after he claimed that there had been “no meaningful progress” in the bid to unify golf following it’s much-publicised split after the launch of LIV Golf.

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It was Dunne, along with policy board chairman Ed Herlihy and PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, who initiated talks with PIF chief Yasir Al-Rumayyan that led to a peace deal being struck last June. However, his resignation letter offers little confidence that meaningful progress is being made in talks around a framework agreement despite positive noises being made by some about a meeting between the board’s player directors, including 15-time major winner, and Al-Rumayyan in the Bahamas in March.

“Since the players now outnumber the independent directors on the board, and no meaningful progress has been made towards a transaction with the PIF, I feel like my vote and my role is utterly superfluous,” said Dunne, a prominent investment banker who has played in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the past.

“It is crucial for the board to avoid letting yesterday’s differences interfere with today’s decisions, especially when they influence future opportunities for the Tour. Unifying professional golf is paramount to restoring fan interest and repairing wounds left from a fractured game. I have tried my best to move all minds in that direction.”

Woods, one of the six player directors on the board, said it had been “surprising” to see Dunne step down, but the 15-time major winner disputed his claim about no meaningful progress. “We're working on negotiations with PIF,” insisted Woods. “It's ongoing; it's fluid; it changes day-to-day. Has there been progress? Yes. But it's an ongoing negotiation, so a lot of work ahead for all of us with this process, and so we're making steps and it may not be giant steps, but we're making steps.”

What are the specific things that he’d like to see for a deal to go ahead and is he personally open to a deal with the Saudis? “Well, I'm not going to comment on whether or not our negotiations and in that nature, except that we're making steps. That's all I can say. I'm personally involved in the process,” he added.

Rory McIlroy’s potential return to the policy board has been blocked by a “subset of people” and, though insisting there is no “strain” on their relationship, the world No 2 admitted the pair disagree about how they see the future of golf at the top level. “It's good to see it differently,” insisted Woods, “but, collectively as a whole, we want to see whatever's best for all the players, the fans, and the state of golf. How we get there, that's to be determined, but the fact that we're in this together and in this fight together to make golf better is what it's all about.

”I think the fans are probably as tired as we are of the talk of not being about the game of golf and about not being about the players. It's about what LIV is doing, what we're doing, players coming back, players leaving, the fans just want to see us play together. How do we get there is to be determined. We made some progress, yes, for sure. But there's a long way to go still.”

Speaking a little earlier, Homa spoke openly about the impact the current situation is having on casual golf fans, with TV ratings having dropped dramatically this year. “It's odd, it doesn't feel like it's dying,” he said of feeling a good vibe from fans at some of the bigger events so far this year, “yet you hear a lot of very valid complaints on the internet. So I think it's very troubling. I don't like where it's going. It's got to be exhausting to be a casual golf fan at this point in time. I don't know why you would want to hear about the business side of this game.”

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Jon Rahm, now a LIV Golf player, reckons the bid to come up with a new landscape should not be rushed. “Some decisions and negotiations can't be taken lightly, so it should take quite a bit of time to get it done properly,” said the Spaniard. I wouldn't want to see something rushed just to get a resolution and just pushing the issues down the road. I think we have a position to set up golf in a very positive way for decades to come, and you need the people that do this for a living that are far smarter than I am to get together to come together to be able to make it work.”

Meanwhile, Woods is still in talks about the US Ryder Cup captaincy for next year’s match at Bethpage Black in New York, with the possibility that he could also be at the helm for the 2027 encounter at Adare Manor in Ireland as well. “We're still talking,” he said, having intimated during The Masters that he was set to have discussions with PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh about the position after the season’s opening major. There's nothing that has been confirmed yet.

“We're still working on what that might look like. Also whether or not I have the time to do it. I'm dedicating my so much time to what we're doing with the PGA Tour, I don't want to not fulfill the role of the captaincy if I can't do it. What that all entails and representing Team USA and the commitments to the PGA of America, the players, and the fans and as I said, all of Team USA. I need to feel that I can give the amount of time that it deserves.”



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