PGA Tour memo promises ‘financially significant’ benefits to loyal players as Jay Monahan returns to work



PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan returned to work last week after a month-long absence for an undisclosed health issue. That absence kept him away both from PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra, Florida, as well as a hearing on Capitol Hill, which other Tour executives as the Senate investigated the league’s recent deal with the Saudi Arabia-backed Public Investment Fund.

About a week after his return, the day before the first round of the 2023 3M Open, Monahan sent a memo to PGA Tour members that provided an update regarding the future of the PGA Tour amid it agreeing to a framework deal with the PIF, a deal expected to be closed by the end of the year.

New information in the memo was scarce, though Monahan did outline the following:

  • Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson and two independent directors from the PGA Tour Policy Board will be on the search committee to find a replacement for another independent director, Randall Stephenson, who left the policy board earlier this month amid concerns about Saudi involvement.
  •  Colin Neville of the Raine Group has been hired as someone with whom player directors can consult as they try and navigate the “complicated” negotiation between the PGA Tour, the PIF and the DP World Tour.
  • A player benefit program is being developed, according to Golf.com, to reward players who did not leave the PGA Tour for LIV Golf in a “financially significant” way.
  • A player discipline path, which will presumably punish players who jumped to LIV Golf and evaluate “developing potential pathways back to the PGA Tour for LIV players who wish to reapply in the future.”

None of this is groundbreaking, of course, though all are small steps forward as the Tour and PIF aim to make their framework deal a reality. As the CEO of NewCo — the for-profit entity that will be created between the Tour and PIF, Monahan has outsized power compared to most everyone else who has discussed what may or may not happen.

Monahan also noted that the 2024 schedule would be revealed on Aug. 8, just before the St. Jude Championship, and the Tour would “unveil record-breaking total compensation for the coming season.”

It will be interesting to see how all of this is affected by the compressed amount of time the Tour has to lock down the deal — written into the framework is language indicating there is an end-of-year deadline — as well as how it is communicated to players, many of whom have expressed distrust of Monahan over recent weeks.

“Yeah, quite a bit [of trust issues] Monahan will have to navigate, just based on conversations I’ve had with players, and I think he realizes that,” said Jordan Spieth at the Scottish Open. “I’m sure he’s preparing for a plan to try and build it back.”

“It really is kind of that cycle where it’s just a framework agreement right now so I don’t know what that entails,” said world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler. “We are not involved in any of the discussions. None of the players were involved. … Should I have been? Probably not, but I’m sure that a few of our players members should probably have been involved.”

Whether — and in what ways — players are more involved going forward will be interesting to monitor as Monahan and the Tour search for some kind of stable ground after an incredibly tumultuous last 18 months.





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