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Woods influential in discussions over PGA-LIV deal, says McIlroy

Tiger Woods is already making an impact in only two weeks on the PGA Tour policy board as it considers the PGA-LIV deal, fellow board member Rory McIlroy said Wednesday.

The 15-time major champion was added to an expanded policy board, the tour announced on August 8, a day after 41 players requested the move in a letter to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.

The move was to add transparency and ease tensions of players unhappy at secrecy around the LIV-PGA merger framework unveiled in June by Monahan and Yasir al-Rumayyan, the head of LIV’s backers, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

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As a result of Woods becoming the sixth player on the policy board, players are the majority of the panel that must approve the PGA’s framework agreement with the PIF by the end of the year for its approval.

“Tiger being on the board, it’s meaningful that he’s on it, that he’s engaged,” McIlroy said. “He has certainly been spending more time on it than I have.

“He has been talking to a lot of people. He’s really engaged in just trying to get the best outcome for the players on the PGA Tour.

“I think his difference has been felt already. I think it will only continue to grow as we head towards that December 31st deadline.”

Potential merger

The deal would create a for-profit entity involving the upstart LIV Golf League, the PGA and the DP World Tour.

Details of the plans under discussion have not been revealed, although Monahan said Tuesday he was confident an agreement would be struck by the end of the year as required under terms of the tentative pact.

Among issues to be settled is the fate of LIV and how players who jumped for record prize money and guaranteed deals might be able to return to the PGA Tour should they desire.

McIlroy said not all the players on the board must vote to approve the final deal.

“I don’t think all the player directors have to be unanimous,” he said. “I don’t think it has to be a unanimous vote. It just has to be a majority.”

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McIlroy said the role of dealing with LIV issues had an impact on his golf performance but he stepped back from such a hands-on role in April and has finished in the top 10 in his past nine events, winning the Scottish Open and placing second at the US Open.

“Last year I was probably energized by everything that was going on in the world of golf. I felt like we were maybe in a bit more of a state of flux,” McIlroy said. “I feel like everything’s a little more settled.

“The stuff that’s going on right now, I’m on the board and I have to be involved and whenever something’s brought to the table I’ll vote on it yes or no. But maybe just not as emotionally engaged.”

Harman OK with Koepka

PGA Championship winner Brooks Kopeka of LIV Golf was edged out of an automatic qualifying spot on the US Ryder Cup team that will defend the trophy against Europe next month in Italy.

British Open champion Brian Harman says Koepka would be a worthy player but will leave the picks to US captain Zach Johnson, who announces his six choices on Tuesday.

“Brooks, he’s right there. I think he would be a pretty good addition to the team,” Harman said.

“I’m not totally familiar with his record in Ryder Cups, but the experience would certainly help, especially considering there’s probably going to be a fair amount of rookies over there.

“Whoever Zach thinks can help us win the Ryder Cup I think needs to be on the team.”

The European team won’t be able to have LIV players on the team under DP World Tour rules but McIlroy didn’t see any problem with that.

“No, I don’t think it would make a difference for us,” McIlroy said.