He might split opinion, but Patrick Cantlay is fully determined to set up the PGA Tour players both now and in the future with his role in the PGA Tour-PIF merger talks…
Patrick Cantlay is not taking his role as a player director on the PGA Tour lightly.
The American joined the tour’s Policy Board in January 2023 and a shocking framework agreement with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia was on his lap a matter of months later.
Talks between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf’s primary investors leading up to the June 6 announcement were kept hidden from the players which led to furious finger-pointing at chief executive Jay Monahan.
Cantlay, one of six player directors who represent the tour’s membership, now feels the weight on his shoulders to help secure a deal that benefits every PGA Tour member now and in years to come.
“I have a responsibility to the membership, to represent them as best as possible, and I care deeply about that,” he said at The American Express.
“So, doing a good job there is not only what I want to do, but also my responsibility. Seeing through this deal, as best as possible, to set up the PGA Tour players both now and in the future, is a priority for me.
“That aside, as far as my golf goes, that is my primary job – my golf. Doing everything I can, time management-wise, to have enough time to prioritise both things correctly is important and a challenge, but that’s life.”
The PGA Tour and the PIF, as well as the DP World Tour, were meant to strike a deal by December 31, but there are now hopes for a compromise before the Masters.
What this deal will physically appear as is not known. The original agreement intended to combine the PIF’s golf-related business with the businesses of the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour to form a new collective entity.
Doubts around the deal emerged when the PGA Tour began to explore private equity candidates and talks have progressed with Strategic Sports Group – a consortium of US-based professional sports team investors.
The complexity of the tour’s affairs hasn’t driven Cantlay away yet as it did with Rory McIlroy, but on the course, he is focused on blocking the noise and adding to his tally of eight PGA Tour titles in 2024.
“I think it’s one of my strengths is compartmentalising, and being as focused as I possibly can be at the task at hand,” he added.
“So, I think there’s a little more effort to try to focus solely on golf while I’m golfing, but I’m able to do that.”
Patrick Cantlay: PGA Tour success is what I’ve always wanted
Cantlay came under intense scrutiny last year from several angles. He was linked with a move to LIV Golf, and then there was the small matter of the Ryder Cup at the end of September.
The former FedEx Cup champion had to field questions about his alleged desire to be paid to play for Team USA and the issues surrounding his decision not to wear a team hat in Rome.
A Sports Illustrated article also claimed Cantlay had “seized control” and turned himself into “arguably the most powerful person on the PGA Tour, including the commissioner” in his role on the Policy Board.
But the on-course fires he’s had to put out aren’t the same as in the boardroom. His fellow player directors have voted to reappoint him for another three years on the Policy Board.
In a recent interview with Golf.com, the 31-year-old made it clear why he cares so much about the PGA Tour, and why he turned down approaches from its Saudi-funded rival.
“I care a lot about the PGA Tour. I grew up wanting to play on the PGA Tour and win tournaments on the PGA Tour, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have done that,” he said.
“So when I joined the board, I viewed that as a responsibility. It was important for me to take that very seriously and I have taken that very seriously.
“And I think it’s important to take it seriously. My goal, being on the PGA Tour Policy Board, is to represent all the members, both current and future, to the best of my ability. And so that’s what I’ve been trying to do.
“That’s what all the player directors have been trying to do. And we’ve been working really closely together over the last many months as a unit to make the best collective decisions that represent the interests of all the members.”
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