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Tiger Woods has claimed the PGA Tour is no longer reliant on investment from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. 

Woods has hailed his circuit’s $3bn deal with Strategic Sports Group (SSG), a conglomerate led by the Liverpool FC owners Fenway Sports Group, claiming the investment “puts us in a very good position.”

The huge injection of cash from SSG will afford the highest profile players like Woods huge levels of equity in a new commercial entity named PGA Tour enterprises.

And the 15-time major champion, returning for his first start of the season at the Genesis Invitational, has now suggested that the PGA Tour can manage without additional Saudi investment.

• Tiger Woods reveals talks over LIV golfers returning to PGA Tour

• Rory McIlroy’s LIV stance proving unpopular on PGA Tour

The PGA Tour is still locked in negotiations with PIF – which bankrolls the rival LIV Golf league – but a deal is yet to be finalised and is subject to regulatory approval.

“Ultimately we would like to have PIF be a part of our tour and a part of our product,” Woods said at Riviera.

“Financially, we don’t [need that] right now. The monies that they have come to the table with and what we initially had agreed to in the framework agreement, those are all the same numbers. Anything beyond this is going to be obviously over and above. We’re in a great position right now.”

Woods’ admission adds further intrigue over how a deal between the PGA Tour and LIV’s backers will play out and how the elite male game can eventually become unified.

• How to watch Tiger Woods’ first start in 2024

• Tiger Woods’ ex-coach blasts OWGR ‘idiots’ 

Jordan Spieth, who also sits on the PGA Tour’s board, claimed recently that “we don’t have to” strike a deal with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund in the wake of SSG’s new involvement.

Rory McIlroy took umbrage with Spieth’s stance, claiming PIF bosses would be less than impressed with the suggestion they are not required at the top table.

“My thing was if I’m the original investor that thought that they were going to get this deal done back in July, and I’m hearing a board member say that, you know, we don’t really need them, now, how are they going to think about that, what are they gonna feel about that?” McIlroy said.

“They are still sitting out there with hundreds of billions of dollars, if not trillions, that they’re gonna pour it into sport, and I know what Jordan was saying… but if I were PIF and I was hearing that, the day after doing this SSG deal, it wouldn’t have made me too happy.”

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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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