Tiger Woods turned down $700 million to $800 million to join LIV Golf, CEO Greg Norman says

The rumors, it appears, were true. Tiger Woods was not only offered a king’s ransom to leave the PGA Tour and join LIV Golf, he turned down approximately three-quarters of a billion dollars to do so.

LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman confirmed this week on Fox News that Woods turned down somewhere in the neighborhood of $700 million or $800 million to flip the script on the PGA Tour.

“That number was out there before I became CEO,” said Norman. “So, that number has been out there, yes. And look, Tiger is a needle-mover, right? So, of course you are going to look at the best of the best. So, they had originally approached Tiger before I became CEO. So, yes, that [offer was] somewhere in that neighborhood.”

Previously, Norman had not confirmed a specific number, only saying that the offer to Woods from LIV was in the “high nine digits.”

It was recently announced that Woods has crossed the threshold to become a billionaire, so he didn’t necessarily need another $750 million, it’s still an eye-popping number to not only be offered but reject. It also would have multiplied his career PGA Tour earnings by a healthy factor.

Woods has made $120.9 million on the PGA Tour. All the other money he’s earned has come from off-course endorsements.

It was smart of LIV to offer Woods this much money, and there’s probably not a number too high that it wouldn’t have been worth it for the league as long as its goal is still to upend the PGA Tour and DP World Tour as the preeminent golf tour in the world. The players they need for that to happen — the Justin Thomases, Rory McIlroys, Jordan Spieths and Scottie Schefflers — grew up idolizing Woods. Even if Woods moving over to LIV didn’t completely convince them to make the leap, it would at least make them think twice.

Tiger, though, doesn’t sound like he ever put much thought into taking the offer. When asked last month at The Open Championship about everyone moving to LIV, he sounded perplexed by the idea, especially considering LIV players currently don’t get Official World Golf Rankings points, which might preclude them from playing in future major championships.

“The players who have chosen to go to LIV and … to play there, I disagree with it,” said Woods. “I think that what they’ve done is they’ve turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position. Some players have never got a chance to even experience it. They’ve gone right from the amateur ranks right into that organization and never really got a chance to play out here and what it feels like to play a Tour schedule or to play in some big events.

“And who knows what’s going to happen in the near future with world ranking points, the criteria for entering major championships. The governing body is going to have to figure that out. Some of these players may not ever get a chance to play in major championships. That is a possibility. We don’t know that for sure yet. It’s up to all the major championship bodies to make that determination. But that is a possibility that some players will never, ever get a chance to play in a major championship, never get a chance to experience this right here, walk down the fairways at Augusta National.

“That, to me, I just don’t understand it.”

The irony here is that Woods no longer needs OWGR points himself to play major championships. As a winner of all four majors, the 46-year-old is exempt into The Open and the PGA Championship until he’s 60, and he’s exempt into the Masters for life. His U.S. Open exemption runs for another year, and he will almost certainly receive more exemptions from the USGA after that.

“But what these players are doing for guaranteed money, what is the incentive to practice?” Woods said. “What is the incentive to go out there and earn it in the dirt? You’re just getting paid a lot of money up front and playing a few events and playing 54 holes. They’re playing blaring music and have all these atmospheres that are different.

“I just don’t see how that move is positive in the long term for a lot of these players, especially if the LIV organization doesn’t get world-ranking points and the major championships change their criteria for entering the events. It would be sad to see some of these young kids never get a chance to experience it and experience what we’ve got a chance to experience and walk these hallowed grounds and play in these championships.”

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