Golf bosses bring in new Tiger-only rule

U.S. Open - Round Two
Tiger Woods has been given a lifetime exemption. Picture: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Tiger Woods is already golf’s first billionaire but will now get to play for at least $240m more every year until he wants to stop after the PGA Tour created a special lifetime exemption for the sporting icon into the eight “signature” events each season.

Woods, who missed the cut at both last week’s US Open and the PGA Championship, two of just four events the 48-year-old has played in 2024, was given the exemption based on his “exceptional lifetime achievement” by the PGA Tour policy board.

The 15-time major champion is the only player who qualifies, as it applies to those with 80 or more career victories. Woods has 82, 13 of which were tournaments that are now part of the PGA Tour’s signature event series.

He has only teed it up in one of this year’s signature events, which are each worth $30m, the Genesis Invitational, which he hosts, and he withdrew due to injury.

The only time Woods has made the cut this year was at the Masters, where he limped to the line finishing 60th.

He has only competed in nine official PGA Tour events the past three seasons since returning to action at the 2022 Masters, the only tournament that offers lifetime exemptions to winners.

But such is his drawing power, PGA Tour officials opened the door for him to play in the events that will have fields capped at 72 players.

Woods is set to play in next month’s Open Championship at Royal Troon in Scotland but said recently he’d be unlikely to play again this year.

“I’ve only got one more tournament this season,” Woods said.

“Even if I win the British Open, I don’t think I’ll be in the (FedEx Cup) playoffs. Just one more event and then I’ll come back whenever I come back.”

Instead of playing, Woods has increased his offcourse involvement as part of a subcommittee who recently met with Saudi Public Investment Fund governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan in New York to thrash out plans for an agreement that could shape the game’s future.

In a memo to players, PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan said movement had been made but there was still “work to do” to reach a binding deal.

“As we’ve said in the past, we can’t negotiate in public but we are making progress,” Monahan said, according to the memo.

“Two weeks ago, members of our PGA Tour Enterprises transaction subcommittee met in New York with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the PIF, as well as members of his team. During that meeting, we reached consensus on several items, but both parties recognise that there is still work to do to reach a final agreement.”