Tiger Woods, PGA Tour’s Top Players Meet Amid LIV Golf Conflict; should make suggestions to Commissioner Jay Monahan

Tiger Woods arrived in Wilmington, Delaware, the site of this week’s BMW Championship, on Tuesday to meet with a number of players to discuss the future of the PGA Tour and how it could be strengthened in its ongoing battle with LIV Golf for the best players in the world.

Woods, a 15-time major champion, flew to Delaware from Florida, with his friend Ricky Fowlerwho did not qualify for the second leg of the FedEx Cup qualifiers.

“It was all about the top players on the same page,” a player who attended the meeting told ESPN. “It was a good meeting.”

The meeting, held at an off-course hotel, lasted three and a half hours, the player said, and most of the PGA Tour’s top stars were there, including Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and others.

Woods had similar discussions with a handful of players at the JP McManus Pro-Am in Ireland in July, sources told ESPN, and he wanted to bring their ideas to a wider audience of PGA Tour members.

Players are expected to provide suggestions on how to improve the tour to commissioner Jay Monahan and other tour administrators.

Monahan was not invited to the meeting. He is expected to welcome the players in an informal question-and-answer session on Wednesday, a tour official told ESPN. Monahan has been hosting the fixtures at tournaments over the past few months.

A source told ESPN it was not meant to be an “everyone on deck” meeting with Woods.

A number of former great champions, including Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Bryson De Chambeau and Phil Mickelson, defected to LIV Golf, which takes players away from the PGA Tour with guaranteed contracts worth up to $100 million to $200 million, as well as $25 million purses for each of its events. Last week, the London Telegraph reported that the winner of the Open Championship Cameron Smith, the No. 2 ranked player in the world, is set to join LIV Golf. Smith dodged reporters’ questions about the report.

Woods’ meeting with the players came a week after a federal judge denied a temporary restraining order to three LIV players who were trying to return to the PGA Tour to compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs. Talor Gooch, matt jones and Hudson Swafford were trying to play in last week’s FedEx St. Jude Championship in Memphis, Tennessee.

“I think that could have made things a bit awkward, yes,” said the Spaniard John Rahm said Tuesday at a press conference. “They chose to leave the PGA Tour, they chose to go join another tour knowing the consequences and then try to come back and get, you know, [and it] wouldn’t have, I would say, been very good to me.

“But at the same time, they’re adults, aren’t they? They’re free to do whatever they want, to some degree, and that’s what they chose to do. If they are cleared by a judge, I’m nobody to say otherwise. It would have been awkward, maybe, but I guess we’ll never know.”

Patrick Canlay, the defending FedEx Cup champion, was asked if having a reunion of a limited number of players would lead to an additional split on the PGA Tour. Cantlay said he was invited to attend the meeting.

“I think depending on the results, if anything potentially changes,” Cantlay said. “I don’t know what will change, if anything, what the outcome will be. I think it’s good that a lot of players are coming together to discuss the situation here, especially given the current circumstances.”

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