$250m Golf League targets Tiger tee up

Tiger Woods, seen at last month's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, will be aiming for a record 83rd tour title this week.
Tiger Woods, seen at last month's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, will be aiming for a record 83rd tour title this week. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

15-time Major winner looking at global tour's plans, says it could mirror World Golf C'ships

LOS ANGELES • Tiger Woods said on Tuesday he had been approached by the Premier Golf League (PGL) and was gathering more information about a concept that could be a more lucrative alternative to the PGA Tour.

The British-based World Golf Group last month unveiled plans for a new global tour it hopes to launch in 2022 consisting of 18 annual tournaments with a total prize money of US$180 million (S$250 million) and featuring 48 of the game's top players.

Woods, speaking to reporters at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California, where he is tournament host for this week's Genesis Invitational, said he had been briefed on details of the PGL.

Said the 15-time Major champion: "There's a lot of information that we're still looking at and whether it's reality or not but, just like everybody else, we're looking into it."

The PGL said it wanted to work with established tours rather than as a breakaway circuit, but the United States-based PGA Tour and European Tour have been dismissive about the proposed circuit, citing scheduling conflicts.

When asked how such a concept could be a possibility, Woods referenced the high-profile World Golf Championships, which were introduced in 1999 as a way to get the world's best golfers together outside of the four Majors and Players Championship.

He also suggested that even if the PGL does not get off the ground, the concept will not go away anytime soon.

"This is a natural evolution, whether or not things like this are going to happen," he said. "Ideas like this are going to happen, whether it's now or in the future."

Woods, who is seeking a record-breaking 83rd PGA Tour win this week on the course where he made his first PGA Tour start as a 16-year-old in 1992, will play the opening two rounds alongside Justin Thomas and Steve Stricker.

But the American, 44, has come up empty in 12 appearances at Riviera, where his best finish was second behind Ernie Els in 1999.

"I have historically never really putted well here," he said. "It suits a natural cutter of the golf ball, so I figured that's what I have done pretty much my entire career.

"But you've got to hit the ball well here because the greens are so small and they're so slopey."

FUTURE OF GOLF

This is a natural evolution, whether or not things like this are going to happen. But ideas like this are going to happen, whether it's now or in the future.

TIGER WOODS, on the proposed Premier Golf League, a new global tour boasting a $250 million total prize purse

He actually skipped the tournament for a decade, missing the cut in his return in 2018. He finished 15th last year as J.B. Holmes came away with the win at the end of a cold rainy week.

This year's sunshine should be better for his balky back in the wake of multiple spinal surgeries.

However, he will be up against a top-flight field featuring nine of the world's top 10. That list is now headed by Rory McIlroy, who edged into the No. 1 spot on Monday ahead of Brooks Koepka.

The tournament's new status as an invitational, rather than an Open, means a smaller field of 120, higher prize money of US$9.3 million, and a three-year tour exemption for the winner.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2020, with the headline '$250m Golf League targets Tiger tee up'. Print Edition | Subscribe