Tiger Woods, among the negotiators in PGA Tour merger talks with Saudi backers of LIV Golf, said on Tuesday there has been progress but a deal remains a long way off.
Speaking after a practice session at Valhalla for the 106th PGA Championship, which starts on May 16, Woods detailed the state of talks nearly a year after a framework merger deal was announced between Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and the PGA Tour.
“Fans are probably as tired as we are of the talk not being about the game of golf and about not being about the players,” Woods said. “The fans just want to see us play together. How do we get there is to be determined.
“We’ve made some progress, yes, for sure, but there’s a long way to go still.”
Woods, a 15-time major winner, is a member of the PGA Tour Policy Board transaction subcommittee charged with hammering out a deal.
“We’re working on negotiations with PIF. It’s ongoing. It’s fluid.
It changes day-to-day,” Woods said.
“Has there been progress? Yes. But it’s an ongoing negotiation so a lot of work ahead for all of us with this process. We’re making steps. It may not be giant steps, but we’re making steps.”
His update came a day after Jimmy Dunne resigned from the PGA Policy Board, multiple reports saying the businessman was unhappy at the slow pace of talks, which have gone well past last December’s deadline. Dunne helped create a controversial framework merger agreement unveiled last June 6 between PIF and the PGA Tour, an announcement blindsiding most players and a sudden reversal by PGA commissioner Jay Monahan, who had pushed them to reject LIV only to seemingly wave a surrender flag less than three weeks after LIV’s Brooks Koepka won the 2023 PGA Championship.
“Jimmy and the amount of work and dedication he put into the board and the PGA Tour, has been incredible,” Woods said.
“It was a bit surprising that he resigned.”
Dunne, in a resignation letter obtained by Sports Illustrated, said since players are a board majority and “no meaningful progress has been made toward a transaction with PIF, I feel like my vote and my role is utterly superfluous”.