Even on the hallowed grounds of St. Andrews, as the birthplace of golf gets set to host its 150th Open Championship, LIV Golf is in the conversation. Tiger Woods, who has been so singularly-focused on this tournament that he withdrew from the U.S. Open, is willing to jump into the conversation.
Woods called out LIV CEO Greg Norman Tuesday, saying that Norman “has done some things that I don’t think is in the best interest of our game.”
He also talked about the many players he used to compete against, who have instead opted for the guaranteed money of LIV.
“I think that what they’ve done is they’ve turned their back on what has allowed them to get to this position. Some players have never got a chance to experience it. They’ve gone from the amateur ranks right into that organization and never really got a chance to play out here and experience what it feels like to play a Tour schedule or to play in some big events.
“Some of these players may not ever get a chance to play in major championships. That is a possibility. We don’t know for sure yet. It’s up to the major championship bodies to make that determination.”
Woods didn’t limit himself to lamenting about what the players might miss out on, and talked specifically about the 54-hole format and the guaranteed money.
“When you’re at this young age and some of these kids-they really are kids who have gone from amateur golf into that organization-72-hole tests are part of it. We used to have 36-hole playoffs for major championships.”
Of the guaranteed money, Woods asked, “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, playing a few events and playing 54 holes.”
Woods, since he won the Masters at age 21, has never had to worry about money, so his perspective is different than most. He is also the biggest presence in golf, and will continue to be that for many years to come. So when Woods takes time to criticize LIV, the golf world listens.
He’s a 16-1 proposition, or +1600, to win at St. Andrews, according to British Open odds.
LIV Golfers at The Open
As Woods mentioned, what major championship governing bodies decide to do about LIV golfers is still to be decided. What The Open is doing with LIV CEO Greg Norman, who is also a two-time Open winner, sent a clear message.
Norman was not invited to play in the tournament this year, and was further denied an invitation to the Champions’ Dinner.
“There have been a lot of dumb decisions made, quite honestly, and this one seemed as if it was very petty,” Norman said.
Norman won’t be there, but there are members of LIV who will be, including former Open champions Phil Mickelson and Louis Oosthuizen. A bet on Oosthuizen to win is paying +900, while Mickelson is at +4500.
Dustin Johnson is a LIV golfer and former second-place finisher at The Open. He’s on the board at +700. Another bridesmaid at the Open, Sergio Garcia, is paying +2000.
The Open Favorites
It’s not surprising the betting favorite is Rory McIlroy. He finished T3 on this course in 2010, shooting as low as a 9-under 63. He then won The Open in 2014, but was unable to defend his title the next year at St. Andrews (injured ankle).
McIlroy, who is paying +250, has been excellent at the majors this year, finishing second at the Masters, eighth at the PGA Championship and fifth at the U.S. Open.
If you are of the opinion that McIlroy is a wire-to-wire winner, take a flier with him as first-round leader at The Open. He’s offering 22-1 odds, or +2200, to do just that, as per British Open odds.
There are a number of solid bets right behind him on the board, including Masters champion Scottie Scheffler and U.S. Open champion Matthew Fitzpatrick. Both are priced at +425.
Xander Schauffele, the second choice on the board at +400, has never won a major. However, he comes into St. Andrews the winner of two straight events, the Travelers Championship and the Scottish Open.
Thursday and Friday finds Schauffele in a potent threesome with McIlroy and the defending Open champion Collin Morikawa (+600).