PGA boss: no Tiger Ryder Cup rush but PGA-PIF urgency vital

rugby15 May 2024 20:38| © AFP
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Tiger Woods © Gallo Images

Tiger Woods will be given plenty of time to decide whether he wants to captain the US team at the 2025 Ryder Cup, PGA of America chief executive Seth Waugh said on Wednesday.

Woods said on Tuesday he remains in talks with Waugh about the chance to guide next year's US squad against holders Europe at Bethpage Black.

But Woods was uncertain he has time for the job given his training, playing and negotiator role in talks between the PGA Tour and Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), backers of the rival LIV Golf League.

"He doesn't do anything that he's not fully committed to, and we totally respect that," Waugh said.

"He has got a lot on his plate right now. He's very active on the tour side of things. We want to give him and the committee space to decide how it plays out.

"We think there's plenty of time and putting an artificial date on it is not something we need to do."

Waugh, however, does want to see some alacrity in the PGA-PIF talks to try and finalize a deal from a framework agreement unveiled last June 6.

"I hope there's urgency because I do think it's doing damage to the tour, to the game," Waugh said.

"I hope it's short-term damage as opposed to permanent damage so I hope there's some urgency in the timing around it because I just don't think it's a healthy situation right now."

Television ratings have dropped for PGA Tour events and even April's Masters as the world's top talent is spread among rival tours, united only at the four major tournaments.

"It's messy and it seems to get messier every week," Waugh said. "I'm a very optimistic type and I'm sort of hoping it's darkest before dawn, but I think the best thing for the game is a deal."

Saudi riches lured away several big names from the PGA, including Spain's fifth-ranked Jon Rahm and 2023 PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka.

"What has been an unsustainable business model has put pressure on other places like the tour," Waugh said. "It puts some financial pressure on us as well.


"I don't think the game is big enough for two tours like that and I think we are diluting the game in a way that is not healthy.

"I think both sides are not only committed to trying to find a deal but really need a deal."

Koepka is among 16 LIV players in this week's field of 156, seven of whom were given special invitations.

LIV's 54-hole events do not earn world ranking points, making it hard for LIV talent to qualify for majors unless they have prior major wins.

Major events can issue special invitations to unqualified players they feel complete a world-class field.

"We're fortunate to be able to... identify what we think are the best players or potentially the best future players and offer them invitations," said PGA of America chief championships officer Kerry Haigh.

"It brings the best players in the whole world together... we're very proud of the field we have and feel they're the best players in the game."