Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele were tight-lipped on what was discussed among fellow PGA Tour players during Tuesday’s meeting regarding the ongoing threat presented by the LIV Golf series.
As for Tiger Woods attending the meeting, well that spoke volumes to the trio. Woods could’ve just as easily participated via a conference call, however the 15-time major champion elected to fly from Florida to Wilmington, Del., to attend the meeting in person.
“He is the hero that we’ve all looked up to,” McIlroy said Wednesday at Wilmington Country Club ahead of the upcoming BMW Championship. “His voice carries further than anyone else’s in the game of golf. His role is navigating us to a place where we all think we should be.”
Thomas said Woods’ involvement was “huge.”
“I think if someone like him is passionate about it, no offense to all of us, but that’s really all that matters,” Thomas said. “If he’s not behind something, then one, it’s probably not a good idea in terms of the betterment of the game, but two, it’s just not going to work. He needs to be behind something.
“I think he’s been a great kind of leading role in a lot of ways in the game for a lot of us.”
Now, as far as what was said during Tuesday’s meeting? That’s pretty much being kept under wraps.
“Yeah, I think I’d be pretty unhappy if I saw one of those guys from last night just blabbering to you guys what we talked about. That would be really frowned upon, and you probably wouldn’t get invited back to the meeting,” Schauffele said. “Yeah, there’s a little bit of a code there, I’d say.”
Schauffele also noted the world of golf is “fractured.”
When asked to elaborate, Schauffele said he missed all of the players from a competition standpoint and Dustin Johnson and his brother and caddie, Austin Johnson, among others, from a personal note.
“They’re two beauties,” Schauffele said. “AJ is full of one-liners, makes me laugh, and I appreciated that.”
The Saudi-funded LIV circuit, led by CEO Greg Norman, has pulled numerous star players away from the PGA Tour with nine-figure dollar guarantees. The LIV roster includes Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, Spain’s Sergio Garcia, and South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen.
Australia’s Cameron Smith, currently ranked second in the world, reportedly is about to leave the PGA Tour to join the LIV tour, too.
Players who have competed in LIV events were suspended by the PGA Tour, and last week a California court sided with the PGA Tour in its decision to ban LIV players from the FedEx Cup playoffs.
Woods publicly backed the PGA Tour amid a flood of defections earlier this summer, saying ahead of the Open Championship, “I disagree with (players jumping to LIV). I think that what they’ve done is they’ve turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position. …
“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 (the Open Championship), walk down the fairways at Augusta National. That, to me, I just don’t understand it.”
Woods declined an offer of more than $700 million to join LIV, Norman said in a Fox News interview this month.
–Field Level Media