Tiger Woods did not hold back this week as he took aim at the golfing heavyweights who have thrown their weight behind the new LIV golf tour. The controversial new tour has received criticism as it is backed by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund. Speaking in a press conference this week, Woods said: “As far as the players who have chosen to go to LIV and to play there, I disagree with it. “I think that what they’ve done is they’ve turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position.”
One of the big names to defect to the LIV tour is Ian Poulter.
It’s fair to say that Woods and Poulter haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, evidenced by a feud which went on for years.
Woods’ former coach Hank Haney once revealed a row that erupted when Poulter boarded Woods’ private jet in 2007 without invitation.
Haney claimed Woods texted him saying: “Can you believe this d*** mooched a ride on my plane?”
Haney also once spoke about Woods demand for respect.
He said: “Those he genuinely liked tended to be quiet, modest, hardworking guys like Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker, whose ability he respected but whose talent didn’t elevate them to the position of serious rival.
“He kept the super talented at a distance. He didn’t want players who could be a threat to feel comfortable around him.
“He was averse to certain players, especially if he felt their records didn’t warrant all the talk. He wasn’t a fan of Ian Poulter, for example.”
Haney reflected on an incident a couple of weeks prior to the US Open at Oakmont, in 2007, when some players went into the Pittsburgh area course to get some practice rounds in.
Among them was Poulter, and Haney said that while he was there he “somehow ended up getting a ride on Tiger’s plane back to Orlando, where he lived”.
Haney continued: “Tiger stretched out on his regular spot, in the two seats in the front of the plane, and immediately put on his headphones.
“That left me to talk to Ian, which I didn’t mind because I got along with him.
“As we were conversing, Tiger texted me a rude message about Ian. As far as I know, Ian didn’t get any more rides.”
In his book The Second Life of Tiger Woods, author Michael Bamberger recounted the day three years ago when Woods and Poulter clashed at Augusta.
Bamberger added that “Tiger likes to beat everybody, but some golfers he likes beating more than others”.
He also alleged that Woods finds Poulter “annoying, too cheeky, too loud”.
As Woods takes aim at those taking part in the LIV tour this week, Poulter has addressed some of the criticism he has faced.
In an interview with the Independent, the Briton admitted that it has been tough to ignore some of the comments being made about him, whether that’s on social media or from fellow pros.
He said: “There’s been an awful lot of unpleasant remarks from the times when I have looked at it and it’s not very nice.
“People threatening you is not a nice position to be in, hence why I haven’t been looking an awful lot at it.”
Meanwhile, Woods has dismissed ideas that he will retire in the near future.
The 15-time major champion has been plagued by injuries in recent years, but insists he will not step back from the sport.
He told Sky Sports: “Who? Me, retire? No, no, no, no. I’m not retiring.
“But not playing a full schedule, that’s just my reality. I don’t like it, but I just have to accept it.
“As far as retiring, no. But this may be my last chance I’ll be playing at St Andrews with a chance to compete at the highest level.
“If it comes around in five, six, seven or eight years’ time, whatever the time frame is, who knows if I’ll be playing the game of golf at this level? I appreciate every single moment, especially coming back here.”