Jack Nicklaus wants nothing to do with PGA Tour, LIV Golf negotiations

Jack Nicklaus has been a voice of reason for professional golf for decades. He has provided his opinion and perspective on numerous topics, from course design to equipment advances to rolling back the golf ball.

But he wants nothing to do with the current saga surrounding the PGA Tour and LIV Golf’s beneficiary, the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF).

“I live in Florida now. I’m not part of the problems of professional golf,” Nicklaus said Tuesday with a laugh.

“I’ve tried to stay out of what’s going with the Tour and LIV.”

When the Memorial Tournament begins on Thursday, play will start on the first anniversary of the framework agreement set forth by the PGA Tour and the PIF.

On Jun. 6, 2023, these two sides agreed to drop their lawsuits and work towards uniting the professional game once again. They also established a deadline of Dec. 31, 2023, to strike a deal, but that date has come and gone with little progress.

“I think they’re working on it. But I think [the PGA Tour is] in pretty good hands,” Nicklaus said.

Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson
Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson at the 2024 Folds of Honor Greats of Golf at The Woodlands Golf Club.
Photo by Aaron M. Sprecher/Getty Images

“A couple of months ago, I called [PGA Tour Commissioner] Jay [Monahan] to talk about it. I said, ‘Jay, I’m worried a little bit about what’s going on.’ I said, ‘Are you doing all right, or are you not?’ And he said, ‘We’re doing fine.’ I said, ‘That’s all I need to know. So, as far as I know, the Tour’s doing fine, and their problems are going to get worked out. How it is, I don’t know.”

Nicklaus does not want to get involved any further. All he needed was a wellness check, and considering he helped create the modern PGA Tour in 1968, he still feels invested in it. His Memorial Tournament is one of the most prominent non-majors annually—an event available only to PGA Tour members.

But he also believes his protégé, Tiger Woods, will help guide things to smoother waters. Woods, of course, joined the PGA Tour Policy Board last August.

“Tiger has a lot of experience, he’s been around long enough, he’s not going to play a whole lot more. He can still contribute,” Nicklaus said.

“I think it’s great that he wants to contribute and be part of it. I think it’s great that the guys want him to contribute. So I’m delighted to see him on the board. He’ll make a great contribution.”

Nevertheless, Nicklaus, at 84 years old, also revealed that he does not pay attention to the PGA Tour’s day-to-day minutiae.

He has five children, 24 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren, all of whom rank way higher on his priority list than the Tour.

He still runs the Memorial Tournament in his native Columbus, Ohio, but he does not do much outside of that as it relates to pro golf. He barely even watched last year’s U.S. Open, too.

“I’m trying to be in the middle of the Memorial Tournament and be involved in that,” Nicklaus said.

“I think that there are a lot smarter people and a lot better people who are better versed on what’s going on than I am as it relates to the problems of the game of golf. I think that it’s in good hands and I trust them to solve those problems because I love the game of golf, I love to see the game of golf flourish and grow as we’ve all seen it grow for a long time.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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