Monahan recovering from medical issue, cedes day-to- control

Published 11:43 pm Tuesday, June 13, 2023

LOS ANGELES (AP) — PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan is recovering from a medical situation that led him to turn over control to two of his top executives, the tour announced Tuesday night.

The tour did not disclose the nature of the medical situation or how serious it was, only that its board “fully supports Jay and appreciates everyone respecting his privacy.”

The PGA Tour is in the midst of the most intense time in its 54-year history, fending off a rival league funded by Saudi Arabia’s national wealth fund that led to defections of marquee players and an antitrust lawsuit.

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His medical situation comes a week after Monahan stunned the golf world by announcing the PGA Tour had ended its battle with the Public Investment Fund and LIV Golf by agreeing to a commercial business partnership.

Monahan, 53, spent nearly two months working on the deal with two PGA Tour board members, investment banker Jimmy Dunne and New York attorney Ed Herlihy, without any players’ knowledge.

Almost all of them said they were shocked. Some said they felt betrayed. The deal came nearly a year after Monahan made pointed remarks about LIV Golf’s source of funding, particularly as it related to any Saudi connection to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

When a news outlet broke an embargo, some players learned of the deal on social media before the tour could email them details. Monahan then faced a meeting with players at the Canadian Open that was described as intense and included a suggestion that he be replaced.

“I recognize that people are going to call me a hypocrite,” Monahan said in a Zoom call with the media after the meeting. “Anytime I said anything, I said it with the information that I had at that moment, and I said it based on someone that’s trying to compete for the PGA Tour and our players. I accept those criticisms. But circumstances do change. I think that in looking at the big picture and looking at it this way, that’s what got us to this point.”

The tour said its chief operating officer, Ron Price, and its president, Tyler Dennis, would be in charge while Monahan recovers.

“Our thoughts are with Jay and his family during his absence, and we wish him a speedy recovery,” Price and Dennis said in a statement. “We have a strong and experienced leadership team in place, and our priority is to support our players and continue the work underway to further lead the PGA Tour and golf’s future.”

Monahan was expected to meet with players and the media next week at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut.

Players at the U.S. Open have said they don’t have details of how the partnership among the PGA Tour, European tour and the Public Investment Fund will work or how it will shape the tour and LIV Golf after this year.

Monahan has said it was a “framework agreement” and still being finalized. Still to come is how players such as Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson who left the PGA Tour for LIV and its $100-plus million signing bonuses could return — and how to reward players who stayed loyal.