Tiger Woods supports the PGA Tour when the PGA of America chief criticises the ‘flawed’ Saudi breakaway league

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PGA Tour
Source: Skysports

PGA Tour: Seth Waugh, president and CEO of the PGA of America, reaffirmed the organization’s support for golf’s present “environment” and questioned the “flawed” framework of the Saudi-backed breakaway circuit.

The Greg Norman-led LIV Golf says its entire 14-event league was ready to go until Phil Mickelson’s comments lost him numerous sponsors and caused other players to withdraw. A shortened schedule of eight events will begin next month at Centurion Club in Hertfordshire.

The PGA Tour rejected requests from Mickelson, Lee Westwood, and Sergio Garcia to compete in the inaugural LIV Golf Invitational Series tournament, with Norman promising to “defend, compensate, and represent” any players sanctioned if they play nonetheless.

“We are big supporters of the ecosystem as it stands,” Waugh said. “We think the structure of – I don’t know if it’s a league – it’s not a league at this point, but the league structure is somewhat flawed. We do think that for a lot of reasons, bringing outside money into the game is going to change it forever, if that, in fact, happens.

“The Tour is owned by the players, and that means that everything ultimately flows back to the players, and as soon as you put any money into it, it’s going to create a need for a return, a need for exit and a lot of things that change the dynamics of it, which we don’t think is necessarily good for the ecosystem.

“I’ve lived in a world of disruption my whole life, or the whole career I should say, and it was inevitable. Golf has never been hotter in every way, from a participation standpoint, from a viewership standpoint. Golf for the first time ever is cool, and that is going to bring more and more eyeballs to it, which I think is ultimately great for the game.

“It’ll cause disruption, but the disruption is happening already internally. It’s not us, but the purses are obviously up, there’s lots of money going on, and the affiliation between the European Tour and the PGA Tour is very real. So all of that disruption is kind of happening but happening internally, which we think is good.”

Waugh said prior to the PGA Championship that players must be members of a “recognised Tour” to compete in future editions of the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup, both of which are run by the PGA of America.

“Our regulations do state that in order to be a PGA member somewhere and thus entitled to play, you must be a recognised member of a recognised Tour,” Waugh added. “Obviously, if something else became one of those [rival tours], we’d have to acknowledge it.”

“We don’t know what it’ll look like next year. We don’t think this [LIV Golf] is good for the game and we are supportive of that ecosystem. We have our own bylaws that we will follow towards those fields.”

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