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tiger woods pif meeting

Tiger Woods led the way in crunch summit with PIF governor Al-Rumayyan

Tiger Woods hosted a meeting and played golf with Yasir Al-Rumayyan in the Bahamas as the PGA Tour and the Public Investment Fund ramped up their efforts to strike a deal…

 

Tiger Woods took the reins in the meeting with the governor of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia Yasir Al-Rumayyan on Monday.

Al-Rumayyan and each of the six player directors from the PGA Tour Policy Board were present at Woods’ residence as a “meet and greet and learn” session took place in the Bahamas.

Woods and Al-Rumayyan reportedly played golf together at Albany golf course where the Hero World Challenge is played at the end of each calendar year, as movement was made towards a compromise between the PGA Tour and the PIF.

Extra details have emerged about the much-anticipated summit courtesy of Bob Harig of Sports Illustrated who spoke to Webb Simpson at the Valspar Championship. Simpson was one of the board’s player directors at the meeting representing PGA Tour Enterprises – the entity that houses the tour’s commercial businesses.

Former US Open champion Simpson described Woods as “very engaged” and said, “Outside of our meeting, he’s been super engaged along the way. He’s a great leader and I really think he’s taken the position of our leader and we rely on him a lot.”

Woods joined the PGA Tour Policy Board in August 2023, two months after the PGA Tour and the PIF, which bankrolls the new start-up LIV Golf League, announced a groundbreaking framework agreement to “unify the game of golf.”

But since then, the PGA Tour sought investment from private equity candidates and struck a deal worth $3 billion with Strategic Sports Group, headed by Liverpool and Boston Red Sox owner John Henry.

This deal called the PGA Tour’s progress with the PIF into question, however, the small print outlined consent to further investment from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund and Henry was also at the meeting earlier this week.

tiger woods pif meeting

Simpson believes speaking to Al-Rumayyan in person “was the next right thing to do. I don’t know what exactly it’s going to look like in a year or two or three or five. It felt like it was the next right thing.”

“What I was interested in going there was to learn more about who he is and what he’s thinking. Learn about LIV more,” he added.

“What was your intention and hope there? How’s it going? All that kind of stuff. A meet and greet and learn. I think he wanted to learn from us kind of what we think. We wanted to figure out what he thinks.”

Tiger Woods-PIF meeting was important, but is the future any clearer?

With Woods and Simpson were player directors Adam Scott, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay and Peter Malnati, as well as board liaison Joe Ogilvie. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan also attended and described the meeting as “constructive” in a subsequent memo to the tour’s membership.

Finer details of what was discussed in this meeting remain murky, but it’s understood little progress was made towards a deal nine months after Monahan and Al-Rumayyan rocked the golf world by appearing in a CNBC broadcast together when both parties were considered rivals and enemies.

LIV Golf held its inaugural event in June 2022. Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson were two of the biggest stars to accept attractive cash offers to join the breakaway tour for its first tournament at Centurion near London, as well as a host of European stars including Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood.

These players were suspended by the PGA Tour, while those who were members of the DP World Tour were suspended and fined for playing in conflicting events. Players such as Jon Rahm, Cameron Smith, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau also now belong to the Saudi-funded roster which has reached its third season.

“The basis for my opinion is really and solely concerned with the poaching (of PGA Tour players),” Simpson said. “We have amazing players on the PGA Tour. As long as there is a potential opportunity for our players to play on a different tour, I have been a little nervous about what is going to happen with the PIF.

“Ultimately, I want us all to play together more than just the majors. It doesn’t have to be just the PGA Tour. That’s why we all love sports. Best teams in the Super Bowl. Best teams in NBA Finals.

“I do think it’s a while until we get there. I didn’t walk away with a much clearer understanding of what the future holds. But I definitely walked away thinking I’m glad we did that. Glad we met him. Glad we had a very friendly meeting. It was never tense. It was a long day but a good day.”

Malnati, a one-time winner on the PGA Tour, enjoyed the meeting with Al-Rumayyan but said that “there is space” between the tour’s vision and Al-Rumayyan’s vision for golf’s future.

“Obviously he is not a regular guy. He chairs 140-something boards. But to talk to him, it was like talking to another human being. I enjoyed and appreciated that. We were definitely talking to a golf nut,” he said.

“I still certainly think a path forward for professional golf makes more sense with him on our side than him as an antagonist. But there’s a lot of work to do to – seeing the same vision for the future of professional golf. There is space between his and ours.”

NOW READ: Has Tiger Woods confirmed his spot at the Masters?

What do you make of the details surrounding the Tiger Woods-Yasir Al-Rumayyan meeting? Do you think a deal will ever be struck? Tell us on X!

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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