Golfing legend Tiger Woods has always been one to dominate the headlines, whether because of his lights-out performances on the green that made him one of the best players of all time, or because of his controversial lifestyle off the course.
While he’s been hampered for the past two and a half years since recovering from a car crash in early 2021 that nearly killed him (participating in just five PGA Tour events since then and placing in just two of those, with his best finish in that span coming at this year’s Genesis Invitational, where he came in 45th place), Woods remains adamant that he isn’t ready to call it quits yet.
At age 47 (he’ll turn 48 in late December), Father Time may have something to say about those aspirations, even if Woods thinks he still has something left in the tank. The shelf life for professional golfers is longer than it is for other sports, to be sure, but with his age and laundry list length injury history, that’s much easier said than done.
Regardless of what Woods’ future on the course itself is, one thing that remains certain is that he’ll have an active role in growing the game of golf no matter what he does. As one of the game’s greatest, a man who brought the sport to new heights during the peak of his career and remains one of its most ardent ambassadors.
Golf needs Tiger, just like Tiger needs golf. Here’s how he’s kept busy as he leaves the potential for a return on the table: but first, some context.
Shaking Up the Sport
This summer has been a rollercoaster ride for anyone who has kept an eye on the golfing world. A major bombshell broke in early July when the PGA Tour announced its intentions to conduct a merger with one of its biggest competitors, LIV Golf, a brand backed by the Saudi Arabian government. The rise of LIV Golf has caused major controversy among fans and players alike given the human rights abuses committed by the Saudi government: many see LIV Golf as a scheme to curry favor worldwide with a popular sports league.
Many players, like Rory McIlroy, have been adamant in their opposition to the fledgling league. Others, like Phil Mickelson, have caught a good deal of flack for caving into the massive contracts LIV Golf offered (Mickelson allegedly ranked in more than $200 million for his services).
Given the polarizing nature of LIV Golf’s business dealings, the world of golf (again, players and fans alike) were blindsided when the PGA Tour announced the merger seemingly overnight, with even the players not being made aware of the impending deal or asked for their input until it was already in place.
Tiger, like McIlroy, has been notable among some of the sport’s biggest stars for his refusal to join the offshoot league, allegedly turning down a deal in the realm of $800 million for his services.
As you might expect, then, he wasn’t happy about PGA leadership going rogue in hammering a deal through.
What’s He Up To Now
Right now, Woods is putting his own career aspirations as a player on the back burner, instead moving to a managerial role. He joined the PGA Tour’s policy board earlier this month as a sixth Player Director, giving him a chance to directly oversee what’s going on in the sport.
Woods noted in the past that players who chose to join LIV Golf were choosing to turn their backs on the PGA Tour that had given them everything.
Per the official PGA Tour website, “Player Directors will have full transparency and the authority to approve—or to decline to approve—any potential changes to the TOUR as part of the Framework Agreement discussions.” As such, Woods and his fellow player directors (which include McIlroy) have the power to shoot down the impending move, as they have a 7-6 voting majority over the rest of the board of directors.
What’s the Impact?
One major impact that Woods joining the policy board will have pertains to the world of sports gambling. The lack of a merger shakes up the odds for events, keeping the stars of LIV Golf and the PGA Tour separate from one another. Rather than having to pick if McIlroy or Mickelson will star in each event, you can attack each stop on the respective tours with the pack thinned out a bit.
With Tiger Woods’ involvement in the PGA Tour, US sports betting is also likely to see increased activity, as fans eagerly place bets on his future performances (should he return someday) and the potential outcomes of the proposed tour merger.
In the immediate aftermath of the announcement that the two tours were planning to merge, many fans worried that the PGA Tour’s rash actions could chase Woods away from them forever, given the statements he’d made about joining LIV Golf as a breach of trust.
The fact that Woods is back in the fold (in an official capacity, no less) solves a potential public relations crisis for an organization amidst a summer full of them. Chasing away one of the greatest players ever in what many have seen as a cash grab would be a massive hit to the PGA Tour’s image and reputation, so it’s smart on their behalf to give Woods the ability to shoot the merger down.