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Tiger Woods added to PGA Tour Policy Board as players seek new governance and transparency measures

August 01, 2023
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Warren Little

Tiger Woods is joining the PGA Tour Policy Board as part of an effort from the tour to provide new governance and transparency measures with its membership.

In a press release Tuesday, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan wrote that Woods will be the sixth player director of the tour’s policy board, a move that appears to have come at the request of several dozen players who reached out to tour leadership seeking additional control of the tour.

Woods joins Rory McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson, Peter Malnati and Charley Hoffman as player directors, with five independent directors and the PGA of America director on the board. One of the independent director seats is currently vacant following Randall Stephenson’s resignation in wake of the tour’s framework agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

According to the release, Woods and the board “will work together to amend the policy board’s governing documents to make it clear that no major decision can be made in the future without the prior involvement and approval of the player directors.” Additionally, the release states the board has the full authority to approve or decline the proposed deal with PIF. After feeling like they were left in the dark when the framework agreement was worked out in late May and early June, players wanted to make sure the fate of the tour was in fact in their own hands.

The release acknowledged that player leaders asked that certain steps regarding the tour's governance "be taken immediately," with Monahan agreeing to support the players and their requests with the Tuesday announcement. According to a report in the Washington Post, a group of 41 players—including Scottie Scheffler, McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Woods himself—sent a letter to Monahan on Monday with those requests, including adding Woods to the policy board. Reports indicate that the letter was prompted by Woods.

"I think it's important. I think it's very obvious last year that a pretty good amount of us were frustrated and taken back with how some things took place," said Justin Thomas when asked about the announcement on Tuesday during a press conference ahead of this week's Wyndham Championship. "You know, we were just kind of put in a funky or tough position with how stuff was handled in the past. Yeah, we just, we want to have a say of what's going on because, you know, it is our tour as well and how it's structured and how it looks is important to us. So we would like to have a little bit of a say-so on how that looks."

“I am honored to represent the players of the PGA Tour,” Woods said in a statement. “This is a critical point for the tour, and the players will do their best to make certain that any changes that are made in tour operations are in the best interest of all tour stakeholders, including fans, sponsors and players. The players thank Commissioner Monahan for agreeing to address our concerns, and we look forward to being at the table with him to make the right decisions for the future of the game that we all love. He has my confidence moving forward with these changes.”

Monahan also announced that Colin Neville of the Raine Group will be brought in to help ensure a transparent, efficient and collaborative process and be a resource for the negotiations between the tour, the PIF and the DP World Tour, echoing similar sentiments Monahan made in a memo to tour membership last week. The Raine Group was behind the Premier Golf League, the tour that initially attempted to rival the PGA Tour before Saudi’s PIF investment diverted from the effort and instead founded LIV Golf. Neville, sources tell Golf Digest, was an advisor of sorts to the players-led initiative by Woods and McIlroy to combat the LIV Golf threat last summer.

Thomas praised Woods, who is tied for the most wins in PGA Tour history, for taking a leadership role with the tour despite playing a limited schedule as the 47-year-old deals with long-term injuries from his car accident in 2021.

"He takes the future of the PGA Tour very seriously and he wants it to be in the best hands possible and it to be in the best position possible," Thomas said. "I think it would be very easy for someone like him, all he's done, just kind of like what do I need to do, I've made the tour what it is, where it's at financially, all the sponsors, TV deals whatever, and it would be pretty easy for him to just hide under a rock the rest of his life and be just fine. But that's not who he is, he wants to continue to see the PGA Tour grow and succeed."

The framework agreement outlined that the tour and PIF have until the end of the year to come to a deal for the proposed for-profit entity, although both parties have the option to extend the deadline.