When Tiger Woods talks, we draw up a chair. When he's venting on the state of the game, we lean in. George Cooper pulls out the highlights from a fascinating press conference at the Hero World Challenge

It’s been four long months since we last saw Tiger Woods on our screens, and while we’ve all been waiting with anticipation to see how his game will hold up after injury, equally as intriguing has been what he has to say given all the tumultuous chaos which has transpired since then.

Well, the 15-time major winner has now spoken for the first time since The Open. And boy has he spoken.

In his most revealing, honest, outright explosive press conference of 2022, Woods has weighed in on just about everything we hoped for, dropping a series of bombshells ranging from LIV Golf to Rory McIlroy to the crash which shocked the world.

Buckle up, because this one has everything…

‘Greg has to go’

Tiger Woods

We’ll start with what you all you came here for: LIV Golf. Following on from McIlroy’s call for Greg Norman to “exit left stage” and “let the adults talk”, Woods has followed suit and insisted no compromise will be made with the PGA Tour’s rival until it’s controversial CEO is gone…

“There’s an opportunity out there if both organisations put a stay on their litigation. But that’s the problem, they’ve got to put a stay on it. And whether or not they do that or not, there’s no willingness to negotiate if you have a litigation against you. So if they both have a stay and then have a break and then they can meet and figure something out, then maybe there is something to be had. But I think Greg [Norman] has to go, first of all. And then obviously litigation against us and then our countersuit against them, those would then have to be at a stay as well. So then we can talk, we can all talk freely.”

‘It’s a flawed system’

From one hot topic to another, Woods was then quizzed on the ongoing Official World Golf Rankings drama which has continued to enrage a large chunk of the sport. This time diverting from what his business partner McIlroy had to say, Woods made it perfectly clear where he stands on the debacle…

“It’s a flawed system. That’s something we all here recognise. The field at Dubai got less points than Sea Island and more of the top players were there in Dubai, so obviously there’s a flawed system. How do you fix it? You know, those are meetings we’re going to have to have. We’re going to have to have it with the [Official] World Golf [Rankings] committee and as well as the main tours that are involved in it, and somehow come up with a better system than is in place now.”

‘The PGA Tour wouldn’t have made it’

In the most shocking revelation of the presser, Woods exposed that the PGA Tour were on the brink of “not making it” through the Covid pandemic. How things would look oh-so different had that materialised…

“The PGA Tour took out an enormous loan during pandemic. If we had another year of the pandemic, the PGA Tour wouldn’t have made it. The enormous loan worked in our benefit, hence we were able to use that money to make the [purse] increases we’ve made.”

‘It’s an endless pit of money’

Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods

Back to LIV, because when does it ever end? Woods soon proceeded to question the end game of Norman’s circuit, lamenting the series for how much money they’ve spent before making an all-time dig – one which will no doubt have Jay Monahan licking his lips.

“They’ve spent probably close to $2 billion this year. Who’s to say they can’t spend 4 or $5 billion next year? We just don’t know. It’s an endless pit of money. But that doesn’t necessarily create legacies either. You want to compare yourself to Hogan, you want to compare yourself to Snead, you want to compare yourself to Nicklaus, you can’t do that over there, but you can on this tour.”

‘Rory is the true leader’

Tiger Woods

More music to Monahan’s ears, but this time paying homage to the man who has continued to lead the fight against LIV both on and off the course.

“What Rory has said and done is what leaders do. Rory is the true leader out here on Tour. The fact that he’s able to be so clear-minded and eloquent and meanwhile go out there and win tournaments. People have no idea how hard that is to do.”

‘I don’t have much left’

Now to the reason he called this press conference in the first place – his longstanding injury woes. Having pulled out of the Hero World Challenge with plantar fasciitis, the 46-year-old reiterated where he stands heading into the new year. Tissues at the ready, folk…

“The goal is to play just the major championships and maybe one or two more. That’s it. I mean, physically that’s all I can do. I told you guys that, you know. I mean, I don’t have much left in this leg, so gear up for the biggest ones and hopefully, you know, lightning catches in a bottle and I’m up there in contention with a chance to win and hopefully I remember how to do that.”

Tiger Woods

‘I want to win the damn thing’

But if those comments left you feeling deflated, just look at what Tiger had to say about potentially returning to St Andrews for The Open in 2030…

“I don’t know what this leg will look like in eight years. Hopefully it’s still attached. But we’ll see. I don’t just want to go back there and say farewell. I want to go back there and win the damn thing. That’s what I thought I could do this year.”

Tiger Woods

‘I would never do that’

Last but not least, Woods was asked whether he would ever use a buggy in a PGA Tour event following his withdrawal from the Hero World Challenge. Ever the competitor, the 15-time major winner then put any suggestions that he would firmly to bed…

“On the PGA Tour? No. I will never take a golf cart unless it’s sanctioned. It’s sanctioned on the Champions Tour, and the PNC is part of that. But as far as a regular PGA Tour event? No, I would never do that.”

The GOAT never lets us down.

George Cooper

A golf fanatic his entire life, George Cooper is NCG's man for all goings-on at the top level of the game, whether it's the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA or LIV Golf. He also looks after NCG's Twitter and Facebook accounts. George is a member of Woburn, but is not friends with Ian Poulter.

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