In his first public appearance in some eight months, Tiger Woods found there was no escaping golf’s hottest topic.
The 15-time major winner was asked what advice he would offer any player who approached Woods that was considering joining the breakaway Saudi Golf League and in doing so, Woods sang the praise of PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan.
“It’s going to be his decision, period,” said Woods.
“I’ve decided for myself that I’m supporting the PGA Tour, that’s where my legacy is. I’ve been fortunate enough to have won 82 events on this tour and 15 major championships and been a part of the World Golf Championships, the start of them and the end of them.
“So, I have an allegiance to the PGA Tour. And I understand that some of the comparisons are very similar to when Arnold and Jack broke off from the PGA of America to start the Tour. I don’t see it that way. I think the Tour has done a fantastic job, Jay’s (Monahan) done an unbelievable job during a very difficult time during the pandemic when there were ample opportunities for players to leave, but we were the first sporting tour to start.
“So, with that, yes, did we have some protocol issues at times. Yes, we had to learn on the fly, but Jay and the staff had done an incredible job of that. I think the Tour is in great hands, they’re doing fantastic, and prize money is going up. It’s just not guaranteed money like most sports are. It’s just like tennis, you have to go out there and earn it.”
Closer to home, Woods spoke of family life as a father to daughter, Sam and son, Charlie whose father for the better part of their young lives has so often been under the knife. In fact, Woods revealed he’s had 10 operations prior to the events of February – five knee operations and five back operations.
“Sam and Charlie have known me more for being injured than healthy,” said Woods, smiling.
“Most of their lives I was going through back operations. I was the guy sitting in the chair right in front of the TV playing Call of Duty while they’re at school, and I would just have to sit there and let it heal so they would play around me, they were so little.
“It was a surprise to them when they realised I could play the game. That’s why the Masters was such an important family moment for all of us, for my mom, Sam and Charlie, all of my friends, because it was — that’s what they’ve seen, that’s what they’ve grown up with. They don’t remember any of these other times because they weren’t alive yet or they were too young to remember.
“In this case it’s like, back to normal again, Dad’s not able to move. So little things like that. To be able to go out there and do activities now with them, to watch my daughter play her soccer games and Charlie to play tournaments and to talk to them about it and see them grow up and hear the verbiage that has changed as kids grow up.
“It’s been a little bit of an eye-opener at times to hear the words that come out. I’m definitely not in the know on a lot of things. I’m not the hip, cool dad at times, so I’m trying to keep up with that. The lingo changes very quickly, so I’m trying to keep up.”