Back to full health, Commissioner Jay Monahan said Wednesday the PGA Tour is on the right path to finalize a deal with the Saudi backers of LIV Golf and that whether he’s the best person to lead the tour will depend on the results.
Monahan spoke publicly for the first time since he returned to work July 17, having stepped away for five weeks with what he described as anxiety that had been building up over time.
He said his only regret in a proposed business partnership with Saudi Arabia’s national wealth fund and the European tour 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.”
Monahan was short on details of the proposed agreement with the media — and with players in his first formal meeting with them on Tuesday afternoon — mainly because negotiations are ongoing. Tour officials met with the Public Investment Fund last weekend.
He 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. 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.”
As for his health, Monahan said there were no guarantees he would return when he stepped away on June 13. The timing was difficult. Monahan had announced the Saudi agreement on June 6 and met with players in Canada that evening. He described that meeting as “intense” among reports some players wanted him to resign.
Monahan said his personality is “run into conflict, not away from it.” But his health left him no choice but to step away.
“The reality for me was that I was dealing with anxiety, which created physical and mental health issues and challenges for me,” Monahan said. “I needed to step away and deal with that.”
He said he was determined to regain the players’ trust and “I see a clear path doing it, as difficult as that may seem right now for some.”