A rival golf tour. Deep pockets. Greg Norman vs. the PGA Tour. A consequential players meeting. If this all sounds a little familiar, you’re not wrong.
“This is groundhog day,” Curtis Strange said last year before the LIV Golf Series ever came to fruition. “This is exactly like it happened in 1994.”
The pitch was finally delivered earlier in 2022 in New York via Saudi Arabia instead of a conference room at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. But 28 years later, the Shark is still trying to prey on the PGA Tour’s prized stock.
The only thing missing was Arnold Palmer to shut it down, as well as the heft of his wingman Jack Nicklaus, who helped launch an independent PGA Tour into existence back in 1968. Playing the role of the King and the Bear this time were Tiger and Rors.
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have presided over the most important meetings of PGA Tour players in nearly three decades – in July in Ireland and again last week in Delaware – in an effort to stave off another Norman-led breach. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, who keeps trying to plug the dike with all of his fingers, acknowledged as much when he announced sweeping changes to shore up the immediate strength of the PGA Tour in the face of defections to LIV.
“To my knowledge, in the history of this organization, there really have been two player-only meetings,” Monahan said Wednesday before the Tour Championship in Atlanta. “There was one in 1994, and there was one last week.
“The fact that Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy and the best players came together to rally around their tour versus when you look back in history that (1994) meeting was to disrupt, if not destroy the tour. As I said earlier, it's a remarkable moment.”
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