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Tiger Woods Declines $700-800 Million to Join LIV

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Tiger Woods during gameplay tipping his hat. | Image from USA Today, For The Win

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Tiger Woods turned down an offer between $700 and $800 million to join the Saudi government-funded LIV Golf series.

LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman confirmed the offer during an appearance on Fox News with Tucker Carlson that aired Monday night. Norman reaffirmed what he told the Washington Post two months ago.

In June, Norman told the Washington Post that the offer to Woods was “mind-blowingly enormous; we’re talking about high nine digits.”

Norman said the offer was “somewhere in that neighborhood” of $700 million to $800 million.

“The number has been out there, yes,” Norman told Carlson. “Tiger is a needle mover. So, of course, you got to look at the best of the best. They originally approached Tiger before I became CEO, so yes, that number is somewhere in that neighborhood.”

Few professional golfers have been more critical of LIV Golf than the iconic 15-time major winner.

In July, ahead of the British Open, Woods blasted the golfers who defected from the PGA Tour to join the LIV ranks. 

“The players who have chosen to go to LIV and to play there, I disagree with it,” Tiger Woods said. “I think that what they’ve done is they’ve turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position.”

“I know what the PGA Tour stands for and what we have done and what the tour has given us, the ability to chase after our careers and to earn what we get and the trophies we have been able to play for and the history that has been a part of this game,” Woods added.

Woods also backed the Royal & Ancient (R&A) Golf Club of St. Andrews’s decision to disinvite Norman from its Celebration of Champions exhibition.

“The R&A obviously have their opinions and their rulings and their decision,” Woods said. “Greg has done some things that I don’t think is in the best interest of our game, and we’re coming back to probably the most historic and traditional place in our sport. I believe it’s the right thing.”

The entire saga has fractured relationships among Woods and other golfers. Bryson DeChambeau, who reportedly accepted more than $125 million to join LIV Golf, revealed Monday that he has not spoken with Woods since his defection.

The LIV is not short on money, with various golfers reportedly accepting nine-figure offers to join the LIV. Phil Mickelson allegedly received a $200 million signing bonus, while Dustin Johnson received $150 million. The 48-man tournaments in LIV, which play 54 holes with no cut, dole out $25 million in prize money at each event. Next year, LIV will play 14 tournaments, up from 12 this year.

The PGA has banned players who have defected to join LIV.

“It’s a monopoly, [the PGA] just want to shut us down whatever way they can,” Norman said. “So they’ll use whatever leverage point they can to shut us down, and they’re not. They’re not going to shut us down.”

The funding source for LIV has led to sharp criticism and protests from people who view the tour as an attempt by Saudi Arabia to distract from its human rights record and its connections to the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Asked why his rival tour has caused such an uproar among American golf fans, Norman responded, “I don’t know.”

“I really don’t care,” Norman said. “I just love the game so much, and I want to grow the game of golf, and we at LIV see that opportunity not just for the men but for the women.”

Norman criticized sponsors who dropped LIV golfers, claiming that many of those same companies also do business with Saudi Arabia.

“Tucker, that blows my mind and sponsors, by the way, who spend billions of dollars in Saudi Arabia,” said Norman, who did not name any of the companies he referenced.

The most recent LIV Golf tournament was held in Bedminster, NJ, over the weekend at the club owned by former President Donald Trump. Henrik Stenson was the winner, earning a $4 million prize.

LIV Golf is off for a month during the FedEx Cup playoffs on the PGA Tour but is scheduled to return for a tournament over Labor Day weekend about an hour west of Boston.

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