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Tiger Woods calls for Greg Norman’s ouster in PGA Tour’s feud with LIV

Tiger Woods last played competitive golf in July at the British Open, where he missed the cut. (Russell Cheyne/Reuters)

While the playing future of Tiger Woods remains uncertain following another ailment, what’s crystal clear is the 15-time major champion’s perspective on resolving the acrimony between the PGA Tour and the LIV Golf International Series.

Woods took direct aim at Greg Norman, the outspoken CEO of the Saudi-funded series that has poached high-profile PGA Tour players, calling for the two-time major champion’s resignation before any substantive discussions could be launched amid dueling lawsuits.

“I think Greg has to go, first of all, and then obviously litigation against us and then our countersuit against them, those would then have to be at a stay as well,” Woods said Tuesday morning from the Bahamas, where he is hosting the Hero World Challenge. “So then we can talk. We can all talk freely.”

The pointed comments came the morning after Woods withdrew from the field of 20 in Albany, Bahamas, with what he announced was plantar fasciitis in his right foot, derailing plans to play in his first competitive event since missing the cut at the British Open in July.

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Woods was in line to participate in only his fourth tournament this year as he continues to recover from an automobile accident in late February 2021 outside Los Angeles. The single-car crash left Woods so severely injured that he revealed months later at last year’s Hero World Challenge he nearly lost his right leg.

The latest setback comes amid a much-publicized fissure that has led to bickering among top players in the world, with Woods and world No. 1 Rory McIlroy embracing leadership roles on the part of the PGA Tour in its dispute with a series that conducts 54-hole tournaments in a team format without cuts.

McIlroy, a four-time major winner, called for Norman “to exit stage left” during remarks a few weeks ago at the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

Woods doubled down on that sentiment when asked several times Tuesday if the competing circuits could exist harmoniously in the longer term.

“Right now as it is, not right now, not with their leadership, not with Greg there and his animosity toward the [PGA] Tour itself,” he said. “I don’t see it happening. As Rory said, and I said as well, Greg’s got to leave, and then we can eventually — hopefully — have a stay between the two lawsuits and figure something out.”

Initially 11 players affiliated with LIV Golf, most notably six-time major champion Phil Mickelson, filed an antitrust suit in August after the PGA Tour suspended them for participating in the Saudi-backed series linked to Mohammed bin Salman. The country’s crown prince, according to U.S. intelligence officials, authorized plans leading to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Mickelson later dismissed his claim, as did seven other original plaintiffs, before the PGA Tour countersued in late September, citing “tortious interference” by encouraging players to violate terms of existing contracts with the PGA Tour.

Woods had flown to Wilmington, Del., in August to meet with elite PGA Tour players during the week of the BMW Championship, the second of three legs in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, to discuss strategy and form a coalition to fortify the tour’s position.

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In addition to Mickelson, other notable players to have left for LIV Golf include world No. 3 and reigning British Open winner Cameron Smith, four-time major champion Brooks Koepka and two-time major winner Dustin Johnson. Koepka and Johnson each has been ranked No. 1 in the world.

“I don’t know what their endgame is,” Woods said of LIV Golf, which is seeking to have its players included in the Official World Golf Rankings to be able to compete in major championships. “You know, we just don’t know. It’s an endless pit of money. But that doesn’t necessarily create legacies either. You want to compare yourself to [Ben] Hogan, you want to compare yourself to [Sam] Snead, you want to compare yourself to [Jack] Nicklaus, you can’t do that over there, but you can on this tour.”