Tiger Woods ‘barred Phil Mickelson from attending dinner at St. Andrews for past Open Championship winners in 2022,’ claims new book about the PGA’s rivalry and merger with LIV Golf
- A new book claims Woods demanded that Mickelson be barred from the event
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Did Tiger Woods bar rival and LIV Golf defector Phil Mickelson from a private dinner for Open Championship winners at St. Andrews in 2022?
As detailed in Alan Shipnuck’s upcoming book, LIV And Let Die, Woods allegedly demanded that Mickelson be banned from the event, which took place at the height of the legal battle between the two golf circuits. The two rival tours have since agreed to a controversial merger, the details of which are still being negotiated.
LIV’s first event took place in June of 2022 and there were lingering animosity over Mickelson and other defectors being permitted to participate in golf’s annual majors.
So when it came time for previous Open winners to dine together at the 268-year-old club, Woods reportedly took it upon himself to ensure Mickelson wasn’t welcomed.
‘He talked to a handful of other [past champions] to get their blessing and then went to the R&A and told them, basically, no one wanted Phil there and it would make the night weird and awkward,’ one attendee told Shipnuck. ‘Whose side were they going to take,Tiger’s or Phil’s? That’s an easy choice.’
Woods gestures to the crowd on the 18th green at the 150th Open Championship in 2022
Mickelson tees off on the 18th hole at St. Andrews during the 2022 Open Championship
Tiger Woods acknowledges the crowd at the 2022 Open Championship at St. Andrews
At the time, Mickelson told reporters that the R&A advised him against participating in that and similar events.
‘The R&A contacted me a couple weeks before and said, ‘Look, we don’t think it’s a great idea you go, but if you want to, you can,’ Mickelson told the media. ‘I just didn’t want to make a big deal about it, so I said, ‘Fine.’ We both kind of agreed that it would be best if I didn’t.’
Woods was among the most outspoken critics of LIV Golf when it began luring PGA players with nine-figure deals, resulting in a legal battle between the two golf circuits.
His presence on the PGA Tour’s policy board came as a great relief to friend and rival Rory McIlroy, who thanked the injured golf legend in August for representing the players amid the controversial merger with Saudi-backed LIV Golf.
McIlroy (right) praised Woods (left) for representing player interest on the PGA’s policy board
‘The player that, especially over the last 20 years, has left the biggest legacy on the game, for him to be involved in the discussions around the future of professional golf and what that may look like is very important,’ McIlroy said.
‘Tiger’s stepped up for all of us on Tour and I think he realizes all the players on the policy board are trying to play regular golf and at the same time trying to navigate all these different things as well, so he’s maybe got a little bit more time on his hands than we do.
‘So for him to step up and sort of take a little bit of the load off us is very much appreciated.’
Woods and McIlroy have been the biggest advocates of the established tours in their battle with LIV Golf, but were kept in the dark before the shocking announcement of a deal between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which bankrolls LIV.
LIV CEO Greg Norman and governor of the Saudi Arabia PIF, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, were thrilled with the merger between the Tour and LIV Golf, which sent shockwaves around the world
Masters champion Jon Rahm said players felt a sense of ‘betrayal’ that the deal was negotiated in secret, with PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan facing calls to resign when the Framework Agreement was revealed on June 6.
Woods became a player-director in what the PGA Tour announced as a new agreement ‘to ensure that the Tour lives up to its mission of being a player-driven organization, for the players, by the players’.
The new board is made up of six player-directors, five independent directors – including a replacement for Randall Stephenson, who resigned over ‘serious concerns’ about the deal – and the PGA of America director.
Woods, 47, has not played since withdrawing from April’s Masters and concedes his playing opportunities will be extremely limited going forward, but the 15-time major winner remains a hugely influential figure in the game.
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