PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has one major regret about how the past couple months played out, ever since he stunned the golf world by announcing the framework of an alliance with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund on June 6.
“Not being more patient on the night of June 5th,” Monahan said Wednesday in Memphis ahead of the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
“If I could do it over again – you don’t get to do it over again in this sport – I think I would have flown up to Toronto and I would have communicated directly to the players that day before anything was said publicly,” he continued. “I put our players on their back foot, and that’s something that I regret and will not do again.”
Monahan spoke with reporters for the first time since taking a medical leave in June in the aftermath of the negotiations becoming public. He returned to work July 17.
New details on the structure of the proposed partnership between the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed PIF were scarce in his hour-long roundtable, just as they seemed to be when he met with a group of players Tuesday at TPC Southwind ahead of the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs. The PGA Tour announced its 2024 schedule earlier this week, and the FedEx St. Jude Championship again will serve as the first playoff event next August.
But Monahan remained steadfast that discussions are progressing and emphasized he’s determined to see them through by the end of the year. He called that target date “realistic” for coming to a finalized agreement with PIF.
Monahan believes what this deal ultimately looks like should determine if he’s fit to continue to lead the PGA Tour, despite acknowledging that he must “regain the trust” of the players after they felt blindsided in June.
“The rollout of June 6 was ineffective. It was ineffective, and as a result, it was a lot of misinformation,” Monahan said. “Any time you have misinformation, that can lead to mistrust. That’s my responsibility. It’s nobody else’s responsibility. That’s me and me alone. As I’ve said, I take full accountability for that.
“I apologize for putting players on their back foot,” he added. “But ultimately the move that we made is the right move for the PGA Tour and I firmly believe that. As we go forward, time will bear that out. It was the right move.”
Monahan said the timing of his medical leave was difficult because “I’m one to run into a fight or a conflict, not run away from it.”
He cited anxiety that had built up over time, in part because of the negotiations with PIF and the reaction to the announcement he now regrets.
“I was dealing with anxiety that created physical and mental challenges for me,” Monahan said. “I needed to step away and to deal with that and understand how to develop the skills to deal with that going forward.”