(Reuters) — Tiger Woods issued a warning to the players who jumped ship to the renegade LIV Golf Series, saying Tuesday they could be barred from playing in major championships at some point.
Woods made the comments from St. Andrews ahead of The Open Championship, which begins Thursday. Woods gave his strongest denunciation of Greg Norman, the LIV circuit and the players who opted for “a lot of money up front.”
But Woods’ implication that LIV players might not be able to participate in the majors moving forward was ominous.
“Some of these players may not ever get a chance to play in major championships,” Woods said. “That is a possibility. We don’t know that for sure yet.”
The LIV Series has petitioned to have its players be awarded Official World Golf Ranking points. But if denied, players would plummet in the rankings used to determine entry to majors. Or, in the case of Augusta National, players could just not get invited.
“It’s up to all the major championship bodies to make that determination,” Woods said. “But that is a possibility, that some players will never, ever get a chance to play in a major championship, never get a chance to experience this right here, walk down the fairways at Augusta National.”
Woods also took aim at the players themselves for the money grab the LIV Series offers.
“What these players are doing for guaranteed money, what is the incentive to practice?” Woods said during his news conference. “What is the incentive to go out there and earn it in the dirt? You’re just getting paid a lot of money up front and playing a few events and playing 54 holes. They’re playing blaring music and have all these atmospheres that are different.”
As for his physical shape heading into The Open, Woods said his leg has “gotten a lot stronger” since playing in the Masters and the PGA Championship. He added that his leg “was not in any condition to play 72 holes” at Augusta in April.
“The walk is certainly a lot easier than those two championships that I played in this year,” Woods said. “I’m able to walk a lot more holes. Also, then again, I’ve gotten a lot stronger since then. I spend more time now that I’ve gotten a chance to work in the weight room and get stronger and get the endurance better in my leg.”
Woods is paired with U.S. Open champ Matt Fitzpatrick and Max Homa for the first two rounds of The Open.