Jay Monahan: PGA Tour deal with PIF on the right path and will reward players and fans

PGA Tour commissioner was speaking at the FedEx St Jude Championship after a five-week absence for medical leave

Jay Monahan is confident he is still the right man to lead the PGA Tour. EPA
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PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has said the partnership with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund is on the right path and will provide a "rewarding result" for players.

The PGA Tour shocked the golf world at the start of June when, alongside the DP World Tour, it announced a commercial partnership with PIF, which had created and financed the rival LIV Golf Series.

Few details have been so far provided on what the new partnership will entail, beyond the formation of a for-profit entity involving the commercial rights of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, and in which PIF will be a significant minority investor. The future of LIV Golf is also up for discussion.

Making his first public appearance since taking a medical leave of absence five weeks ago, Monahan said: “I am confident when we complete this process, this will be a rewarding result for PGA Tour players and the fans."

The agreement for the new commercial venture is to be finalised by December 31 — that includes the future of LIV Golf — while Monahan is faced with regaining trust from players who felt betrayed by the PGA Tour's about-face deal.

Monahan had previously urged players to resist the lucrative approaches from LIV Golf, frequently using the phrase "legacy, not leverage", only to strike a deal with PIF when it best suited the PGA Tour. He said his only regret about the deal was keeping players in the dark.

“I put players on their back foot,” he said. “That’s something I regret and will not do again.”

Asked if he was the right person for the job, Monahan, who was speaking in Memphis ahead of the FedEx St Jude Championship, said: “I understand the position I’m in in the short term. But I think the real answer to that question is where are we at the end of this year? And I think where we're going to be ... is going to be a very positive place.”

Monahan offered few details on the negotiations with the media — and with players in his first formal meeting with them Tuesday afternoon — because negotiations are ongoing. Tour officials met with PIF last weekend.

Monahan was bullish that a deal would get done by the end of the year, and that the PGA Tour is not considering any outside investors at the moment.

“Our focus is on conversations with PIF,” he said, adding later that he was “determined to get this right.” He said a definitive agreement by the end of the year “is the target and that is realistic".

"There is the short term and there is the long term," he said. "Looking out over the horizon, we feel like this is the right move for the PGA Tour to create a new commercial model that allows PIF to invest ... and to be able to grow the PGA Tour that will reward players and fans.

“That's what we think is the right path forward.”

Updated: August 10, 2023, 8:59 AM