LIV pro: Tiger Woods talked to me at the Masters about the Saudi-backed series

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods earlier this month during a practice round at the Masters.

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Tiger Woods knew LIV Golf’s schedule, Talor Gooch says. 

Woods also knew, Gooch said, that Gooch was on the Range Goats team. 

And yes, this is the same Woods that has unfondly spoken of Saudi-backed LIV over the past year. Is it something? Is it nothing? At the least, Gooch’s revelations, made this week on the Fore the People podcast, is perhaps attention grabbing. 

After all, it was Woods who had these thoughts on LIV at last year’s Open Championship:

“As far as … the players who have chosen to go to LIV and to play there, I disagree with it,” Woods said at the Open Championship. “I think that what they’ve done is they’ve turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position. 

“I just don’t see how that move is positive in the long term for a lot of these players, especially if the LIV organization doesn’t get world-ranking points and the major championships change their criteria for entering the events,” he continued. “It would be sad to see some of these young kids never get a chance to experience it and experience what we’ve got a chance to experience and walk these hallowed grounds and play in these championships.”

About five months later, at the Hero World Challenge that he hosts, Woods then had these words, when asked what the “endgame” would be between LIV and the PGA Tour, which has lost numerous players to the series that is now playing its second season:

“We don’t know. No one knows,” Woods said. “Right now it’s — there’s a lot of animosity, especially from their leadership. And they want to be a validated tour with World Ranking points, and they’re buying up tours around the world, and I don’t know — I don’t know what their endgame is. It might be just being an official member of the golf ecosystem and being recognized with World Ranking points. I think that’s what their intended goal is. You know, they’ve spent probably close to $2 billion this year. Who’s to say they can’t spend $4 [billion] or $5 billion next year? You know, we just don’t know. It’s an endless pit of money.

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“But that doesn’t necessarily create legacies either. You want to compare yourself to [Ben] Hogan, you want to compare yourself to [Sam] Snead, you want to compare yourself to [Jack] Nicklaus, you can’t do that over there, but you can on this tour.” 

So there’s that side. 

And then there’s Gooch’s, which he shared on the podcast (and you can listen to the complete show here). To set it up, the Masters was played at the start of the month, LIV played last week in Australia, and this week, they are playing in Singapore. And Gooch, who won the Australian event, is a member of the Range Goats team, captained by Bubba Watson

Here’s the complete exchange, which also involves a hotel casino in Singapore:

“So I have kind of a funny story,” Gooch said on the podcast. “So at Augusta, one of the mornings I was warming up, Tiger was right next to me warming up. And he was like, man, you’re with Bubba’s team now, right? And I was like, yeah. He’s like, you all are going to Adelaide, right? I’m like, yeah. He goes, man, they got some great golf there. 

“And then he’s, have you ever been to Singapore? I was like, man, first time. And he’s like, man, you need to go to the casino at Marina Bay Sands. It’s the famous hotel casino here; you’ve all seen it, for sure. It looks like there’s a boat on top of three towers. It’s this massive casino hotel. And the shops and everything. So anyways, Tiger’s like, first time I was in Singapore, I had to do this clinic there, right? And he’s like, I got introduced to the guy who basically owns the Disney of Asia, and he had to be there for whatever reason. And so he’s like, this guy is like, hey, do you want to go get some dinner tonight? My favorite place in Singapore is at this hotel casino. And then, do you like to gamble at all? And Tiger’s like, a little bit. And so, he said, I want to teach you how to play baccarat. And Tiger’s like, we go over there and this guy starts out playing million-dollar hands. And so, Tiger’s like, this was earlier in my career, I quickly learned the difference between being rich, and being rich rich. I was like …” 

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“Own-Disney rich,” said J.J. Killeen, one of the podcast’s hosts and a pro golfer himself.  

“You know, that’s kind of encouraging to know that Tiger watches you all that much, though, right,” said John Peterson, the other podcast host and also a pro. “Because he knew that you were going to go to Australia. And then not just that he knew you were going to Australia, he knew the next event was in Singapore. And I guarantee you, if you were to ask 95 percent of golf fans the week of the Masters where the LIV tour was going the next two weeks in a row, there’s no way they would have been able to tell you Australia and Singapore. So Tiger’s paying attention. Tiger’s paying attention a little bit.”

“Yup, that was my takeaway, too,” Gooch said. 

Editor’s note: To listen to the entire podcast, please click here.   

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at