TULSA, Okla. ( Associated Press) — For Tiger Woods, it’s legacy and the majors that matter, an issue he raised Tuesday as an argument to refute Phil Mickelson’s support for the Saudi-funded golf project. .
That endorsement and the controversy it generated led to Mickelson not attempting to defend his PGA Championship title.
While Woods turns heads by resuming his incredible comeback from the car accident that nearly cost him the amputation of his right leg 15 months ago, the PGA Championship hasn’t ignored Mickelson’s absence and speculation over who might sign him. Greg Norman’s new series.
Woods said he hasn’t tried to talk to Mickelson since three months ago, when he took a break from golf for himself, due in large part to differences of opinion about how golf should be handled.
“I understand the different points of view, but I believe in legacies. I believe in the majors. I believe in great events compared to historical figures,” Woods said.
“There is a lot of money here,” he added. “The Tour is growing. But it’s like other sports — like tennis — you have to go out there and earn it. It’s not guaranteed in advance.”
That was a reference to the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, which was offered to players to join Greg Norman and his company LIV Golf Investments. According to various reports from Britain, some of the best players received an offer higher than the $120 million Woods has earned in his PGA career.
Mickelson made his position known in two interviews published in February. He accused the PGA Tour of “abhorrent greed” while playing in Saudi Arabia. He made further inflammatory comments in an excerpt from Alan Shipnuck’s unauthorized biography of Mickelson.
Mickelson opted out of Southern Hills on Friday and missed out on celebrating his historic win last year at Kiawah Island at age 50. He became the oldest champion in a major..
He is the first PGA champion not to defend his title since Woods was recovering from knee surgery in 2008 and skipped the Oakland Hills.
“It’s always disappointing when the champion isn’t here,” Woods acknowledged.
Woods feels more optimistic than a month ago at the Masters. He said people close to him were happy to see him walk all 72 holes at Augusta National, his first competition on foot since the Feb. 23, 2021, accident.
He is the defending PGA Championship champion at Southern Hills, having won by two shots in 2017, the 13th of his 15 majors.