Tiger Woods posts letter calling for unity minutes after Jon Rahm signs with LIV Golf

Tiger Woods posts letter calling for unity minutes after Jon Rahm signs with LIV Golf

Minutes after Jon Rahm donned his LIV Golf letterman jacket on FOX News, Tiger Woods posted a letter to his fellow PGA Tour players on his social media account.

As a newly directed Player Director on the PGA Tour Policy Board, Woods reassured his fellow members about the future of the PGA Tour—a circuit where he has 82 career victories.

He also called for unity.

“The Player Directors have been doing everything we can to ensure the PGA Tour is best positioned to thrive for decades to come,” the memo states.

“The ebbs and flows of our performance, the challenges we face and the opportunities we seize are what make our sport so dynamic. Despite our differences, there is so much more that unites us than ever before. Together, we have an opportunity to deliver an outcome that best serves the interests of the membership [of the PGA Tour].”

Woods, along with fellow Player Directors Patrick Cantlay, Jordan Spieth, Webb Simpson, Charley Hoffman, Peter Malnati, and Adam Scott, have been involved in numerous decisions regarding the PGA Tour’s future.

But how that future will look remains unclear, as the letter did not offer much specifics. The most important facet of this memo is the timing of its release, as it was made public almost immediately after Rahm pledged his allegiance to LIV Golf.

Jon Rahm, PGA Tour, Tour Championship

Jon Rahm at the 2023 Tour Championship, his most recent event on the PGA Tour.
Photo by John Adams/Getty Images

Granted, the memo lists Dec. 1 as its notice date for PGA Tour members. But for most of the general public, this was new material that coincided with Rahm’s announcement on Dec. 7.

With Rahm bolting for LIV, alarm bells sounded all over the golf world—especially in Ponta Vedra Beach, Florida, where the headquarters of the PGA Tour is.

LIV Golf now employs two major champions from 2023 and seven of the last 15 major champions dating back to 2020.

Yet, the letter Woods posted expresses confidence in the PGA Tour’s ongoing negotiations with the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF). The two sides have a self-imposed deadline of Dec. 31, 2023, to strike a formal deal.

“This has been a time of meaningful change for us all on the PGA Tour,” the letter reads.

“It is also a time of significant opportunity.”

This memo also discloses vague talking points about the tour’s current discussions with other private equity firms. The letter insists these “are not traditional ‘private equity’ groups as has been reported, but rather multi-decade oriented, strategic partners.”

Well, what does that mean?

Perhaps that is an allusion to Fenway Sports Group, the sports conglomerate that owns the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Liverpool F.C., among other teams.

The group has reportedly shown interest in making a substantial investment in the PGA Tour.

On the flip side, maybe the PIF saw Fenway Sports Group—and other American-based investment groups—as a threat to finalizing its framework agreement with the PGA Tour. That could explain the PIF’s decision to throw an insurmountable amount of cash Rahm’s way.

Rahm, currently the third-ranked player in the world, was a massive asset to the PGA Tour.

Now, he is the face of LIV Golf, joining Cam Smith and Brooks Koepka as the triumvirate of the breakaway circuit.

But despite these variables, Woods and the Player Directors insist that the PGA Tour is working diligently towards an agreement by the end of the year. These discussions include potential equity stakes for members, an idea supported by all possible investor groups.

Whether that comes to fruition, remains to be seen.

“We know this has been a frustrating and confusing year,” the letter concludes. “As Player Directors, it is our duty to represent you, the members of the PGA Tour, and we are determined to get this right.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.

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