As Justin Thomas gears up for the Wyndham Championship, his last chance to play his way into this season’s FedExCup Playoffs, he had another pressing topic to discuss during his pre-tournament media availability Tuesday at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Shortly before Thomas stepped up to the microphone, Tiger Woods was announced by the PGA Tour as its sixth player director on its policy board, joining Rory McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson, Charley Hoffman and Peter Malnati on a board that also normally includes six independent directors, though there is currently a vacant seat left by former AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson, who resigned from his board position last month.
Thomas, a close friend of Woods, was among the many top players who joined Woods in co-signing a letter sent to Monahan requesting that Woods be named to the board and the Tour’s governance structure be immediately reviewed. Thomas, unsurprisingly, voiced his support of the move.
“I’m obviously excited to have Tiger on behalf of the players,” Thomas said. “I mean, I know that he takes it very seriously. I think he’s spoken to it some, but obviously his relationship with Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and what they did to basically create the PGA Tour, kind of what it is now. Then we’ve been dealt with some roadblocks, if you will, or just some difficult circumstances. I think he takes it seriously that he is going to be a part of paving the way for the future and the current, I guess, I don’t know if you want to call it structure or whatever of the PGA Tour.
“He takes the future of the PGA Tour very seriously and he wants it to be in the best hands possible and it to be in the best position possible. I think it would be very easy for someone like him, all he’s done, just kind of like what do I need to do, I’ve made the Tour what it is, where it’s at financially, all the sponsors, TV deals whatever, and it would be pretty easy for him to just hide under a rock the rest of his life and be just fine. But that’s not who he is, he wants to continue to see the PGA Tour grow and succeed.”
In addition to unveiling Woods as a player director, the Tour’s announcement also indicated that the Tour would be implementing “new governance and transparency measures” that include the players being involved in major decision-making while also having the power to approve or not approve any chances to the Tour via the framework agreement that is currently being discussed with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
This comes after the Tour’s members were caught off guard by not only the June 6 announcement that the Tour was partnering with the PIF, which backs LIV Golf, but also previous events related to the Tour’s ongoing battle against the Saudi-backed rival league.
“I think it’s very obvious last year that a pretty good amount of us were frustrated and taken back with how some things took place,” Thomas said. “You know, we were just kind of put in a funky or tough position with how stuff was handled in the past. Yeah, we just, we want to have a say of what’s going on because, you know, it is our tour as well and how it’s structured and how it looks is important to us. So we would like to have a little bit of a say-so on how that looks.”