Fifteen-time major championship winner Tiger Woods announced on Tuesday he would not play in this month’s U.S. Open at Brookline. The three-time U.S. Open champion via his official Twitter account cited as the reason the need to get his body stronger for the rigors of major championship golf. With the British Open scheduled next month at his favorite course, St. Andrews, not playing the U.S. Open was always a possibility.
“I previously informed the USGA that I will not be competing in the @as my body needs more time to get stronger for major championship golf. I do hope and plan to be ready to play in Ireland at @ and at @ next month. I’m excited to get back out there soon!”
I previously informed the USGA that I will not be competing in the @usopengolf as my body needs more time to get stronger for major championship golf. I do hope and plan to be ready to play in Ireland at @JPProAm and at @TheOpen next month. I’m excited to get back out there soon!
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) June 7, 2022
Woods suffered serious injuries to his right leg and right foot in a car wreck near Los Angeles on Feb. 23, 2021. He underwent multiple surgeries and almost lost his right leg.Since then, he has competed in the 2022 Masters in April and the PGA Championship in May.
The revamped major schedule, moving the PGA up from August to May, is likely the cause for this. Woods would’ve had an entire month plus to recover and strength train after the Masters and prior to the U.S. Open.
As it stands, playing two majors a month apart on a surgically repaired body didn’t allow for the proper recovery and strength training.
Woods has made no secret that the Old Course at St. Andrews, the site of next month’s British Open where he has won twice, is his favorite venue to play. The courses for major championships rotate and who knows if he will be healthy or have the ability to play at St. Andrews for another major championship again. Those factors along with his health are the main reasons he won’t be playing at Brookline this month.
The last few months have been a bit tumultuous in the world of golf. The upstart LIV Golf Tour, backed by the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, has poached a few big names from the PGA, including Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson.
Saudi Arabia is a country whose government has come under fire for various human rights violations, including the murder of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Just on its surface, getting into business with the Saudis is a poor public relations move. Never mind the moral or ethical concerns. Nevertheless, the huge purses on the LIV Tour and the guaranteed money are hard for apex predator capitalists to turn down.
Australian golfer, two-time major champion and CEO of LIV Golf Investments Greg Norman said Woods was offered a massive deal to join the LIV Tour. It was “mind-blowingly enormous; we’re talking about high nine digits.”
Johnson was given $125 million and Mickelson was reportedly given $200 million for defecting. Between them, they have eight majors and are among the biggest names in golf.
But neither of them is Tiger Woods.
Nobody moves the needle in the game of golf like Woods. A defection by Woods from the PGA to the LIV would be massive. The upstart tour would likely pay him $500 million or more to join. The Saudi sovereign wealth fund has $600 billion in assets under management, a half billion-dollar check or more to Woods is easily doable.
Despite all of that, Woods is unlikely to move.
“I’ve decided for myself that I’m supporting the PGA Tour. That’s where my legacy is,” Woods said. “I have allegiance to the PGA Tour.”
With 82 wins and 15 majors as a member of the PGA Tour, Woods has established a legacy that he wouldn’t want to tarnish by defecting.