He says it is a “natural evolution” but Tiger Woods is wary of jumping ship to a proposed new world golf tour.
Woods said Tuesday he had been approached by the fledgling Premier Golf League (PGL) and has been digesting the details with his team.
The British-based World Golf Group hopes to lure the biggest stars to a highly lucrative global circuit to rival the PGA Tour and the European Tour — the game’s two major leagues.
The suggested format is for 48 of the top players to compete in 18 tournaments a year — each with a purse of $10 million — starting in 2022. The new tour would reportedly offer a total prize fund of $240 million.
“Have I been personally approached? Yes, and my team’s been aware of it and we’ve delved into the details of it and trying to figure it all out, just like everyone else,” Woods told reporters ahead of the PGA Tour’s Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California.
“There’s a lot of information that we’re still looking at and whether it’s reality or not.”
‘Ideas are going to happen’
The PGA Tour is the premier professional circuit in the United States with about $341 million in prize money available across 46 official events, according to its website. The European Tour organizes events in Europe and around the world, outside the US, with about $230 million up for grabs.
The four majors — the Masters, the PGA Championship, the US Open and the Open — are separate entities but are co-sanctioned, as are the four World Golf Championships events. Eligible players can compete on both tours as long as they fulfill a minimum requirement of events on their home circuit.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and European Tour chief Keith Pelley have refused to discuss “hypothetical” plans for a global circuit but have warned players they would have to choose between the old tour and any new iteration.
But Woods pointed to the World Golf Championships, which began in 1999 as a way of getting the top players together more often outside of the four majors, and suggested closer alignment between the established tours is a likelihood in the future.
“I think that just like all events, you’re trying to get the top players to play more collectively,” added the former world No.1, who has won more than $120 million on the PGA Tour since turning pro in 1996.
“And so this is a natural evolution, whether or not things like this are going to happen. But ideas like this are going to happen going forward, whether it’s now or any other time in the future.”
Woods, the 15-time major champion, is chasing a record-breaking 83rd PGA Tour win in California this week.
He made his PGA Tour debut as a 16-year-old amateur at Riviera in 1992 but has never won in 12 tournaments at the venue.