Golf icon and potential LIV Golf ‘needle-mover' Tiger Woods rejects a whopping nine-figure dollar contract coming from the controversial Saudi Arabia sovereign wealth fund.
According to the tour's CEO Greg Norman, Tiger Woods turned down a sum worth around $700 to $800 million to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series.
Norman said the offer was made before the Australian was named chief of the controversial series, which is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.
Norman said in an interview that aired Monday night: "That number was out there before I became CEO. So that number has been out there, yes. Look, Tiger is a needle mover, right? So, of course you're got to look at the best of the best. They had originally approached Tiger before I became CEO. That number is somewhere in that ($700-800 million) neighborhood."
LIV Golf has signed many marquee players for the series, including the likes of Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, but 15-times major champion Tiger Woods has stayed committed to the PGA Tour.
The LIV Golf series is backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) - a sovereign wealth fund chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia - and has pledged to award $250 million in total prize money.
However, it has led to criticism from many players, including Rory McIlroy and Woods, that players have abandoned golf's traditional set up and accepted money from a country with a dismal human rights record.
Woods said before last month's British Open that he did not agree with the other players' decision to join the LIV Series and compared the circuit, which features huge guaranteed contracts and a 54-hole format, to the senior Champions Tour.
Woods said: "I think that what they've done is they've turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position.
Some of these players may not ever get a chance to play in major championships. That is a possibility. We don't know that for sure yet. It's up to all the major championship bodies to make that determination. 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.
But what these players are doing for guaranteed money, what is the incentive to practice? 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.
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.
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."
Woods even went as far to criticize Norman himself for his role in the splinter tour, saying "Greg has done some things that I don't think is in the best interest of our game, and we're coming back to probably the most historic and traditional place in our sport."
On Sunday, Henrik Stenson won the third event of LIV Golf's debut season at Bedminster, New Jersey.
Almost two weeks after he was stripped of his Ryder Cup captaincy as a consequence for joining the series, the 46-year-old Swede shot 11-under par at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster to win $4 million.
He accepted the trophy alongside former US President Donald Trump, who was present throughout the three-day competition and who owns the course.