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TSN Senior Reporter

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The full guest list remains shrouded in mystery and the topics of discussion a well-guarded secret, but the overall theme of the meeting of a select group of PGA Tour professionals this week was clear. So, too, was the major domo of this gathering.

On Tuesday evening in Wilmington, Del., ahead of the BMW Championship, Tiger Woods led an assembly of the game’s best golfers in a discussion of what should be done in light of the arrival of LIV Golf and its seemingly bottomless pit of money.

So far, the rival league has enticed numerous high-profile golfers to depart the PGA Tour, guaranteeing them cheques well in excess of their career earnings. More golfers are expected to jump from the PGA tour ship after the Presidents Cup at the end of September.

While there was no indication of any immediate plans, the gathering was seen as a positive step by those who attended.

“It was a productive meeting,” offered Justin Thomas. “It's just something that the players who are involved just want the best for the tour and want what's in the best interest. I think it's just one of those things where we all want what's best for the players, and we're working to do that.”

Judging by comments from some of the attendees, there was a double-pinky oath of secrecy taken with all agreeing to keep the details of the meeting from leaking out. It’s safe to say, however, that among the topics being discussed were likely guaranteed money, schedule and major championships. There also could have been talk of whether to meet with the other side, although the lawsuit launched against the tour by 10 LIV golfers may have diminished that possibility.

Whatever was on the table, the fact that Woods flew in from his Florida enclave, bringing Rickie Fowler along with him, leaves little doubt that the players are taking this seriously and not about to leave all the heavy lifting to the PGA Tour brass.

“If he's not behind something, then one, it's probably not a good idea in terms of the betterment of the game,” said Thomas of Woods. “But two, it's just not going to work. He needs to be behind something. I think he's been a great kind of leading role in a lot of ways in the game for a lot of us.”

“He is the hero that we've all looked up to,” added Rory McIlroy, another attendee. “His voice carries further than anyone else's in the game of golf. His role is navigating us to a place where we all think we should be.”

Despite his weakened physical state and limited tournament schedule, Woods is still the biggest name in golf. He can do more to protect the interests of the PGA Tour than 10 commissioner Jay Monahans. He can also likely convince more players to remain loyal to the tour that has given them lots of rewards.

“I've heard Tiger is the new commissioner, right?” joked Patrick Cantlay, another attendee. “That's what everyone has been saying.”

Woods has been clear of his distaste for everything LIV and its leader, Greg Norman. The 15-time major winner reportedly turned down a staggering offer of between $700 and $800 million to switch sides. At this year’s Open Championship, he also questioned the motives of the golfers who are jumping ship, saying their desire to grind it out, as he did, seems lost.

“What these players are doing for guaranteed money, what is the incentive to practise?” 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 and playing a few events and playing 54 holes.”

This the second gathering of this group, with the first taking place last month at Adare Manor in Ireland ahead of a pro-am that included most of the top names in golf. It’s almost guaranteed there will be more meetings as the two sides battle for golf’s top spot, and you can be sure Woods will be front and centre.

“I think it shows how passionate he is about golf,” stated McIlroy, “and wanting to improve it and paving the way for the next generation of young players to come out down the road.”