Tiger Woods, LIV Golfers, resignation: What did Jay Monahan say at TPC Sawgrass?

Jay Monahan was asked questions about Tiger Woods, Anthony Kim, the Public Investment Fund and his own job security at TPC Sawgrass. NCG’s Matt Chivers was there to sit through it…


Jay Monahan faced a feverish barrage of questioning at the 50th Players Championship.

The PGA Tour commissioner spoke for over 40 minutes at TPC Sawgrass and addressed several issues which have both burned for over a year and arose in 2024.

The circuit announced a stunning framework agreement with the Public Investment Fund in June 2023 but, since then, has signed a deal worth $3 billion with Strategic Sports Group.

Debate surrounding the potential return of LIV Golfers has also intensified in the new year, as well as the excitement for Tiger Woods‘ return at the Genesis Invitational, despite his withdrawal from the event with flu.

LIV Golf rocked the golf world once again last month with the signing of Anthony Kim who had reportedly considered a return to the PGA Tour 12 years after his last start.

Along with his alignment with Rory McIlroy’s calls for a ‘World Tour’ and his actual job security, it was a long menu of issues that Monahan was asked to tuck into on Tuesday at Ponte Vedra Beach.

Let’s break down the 10 key questions from the Jay Monahan press conference, and how he answered them…

READ MORE: Talks with the PIF are ‘accelerating’ says PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan

Would you have done anything differently from the last three years?

“There are always things when you look back that you would do differently. I think I’ve been asked this question at prior sessions with the media, and it’s something I’ve talked to our players about.

“But obviously when you look back to last summer I could have handled that better, and I’ve taken full responsibility and accountability for that. That’s on me. But we’ve moved on, and we’ve made so much progress since that point in time and I have learned from it.

“I’ve been humbled by it. I think I’ve gotten stronger as a leader, and the progress that we have made since that point in time, some of which I just talked about, and includes the SSG’s investment in the PGA Tour and the prospects that that brings forward, I couldn’t be more excited about.

“But – this is a very complicated business when you have 200 plus members, over 100 different corporate partners, 50 tournament organisations, communities you’re responsible for.

“I’m really proud of our players. I’m really proud of my team members. We’re just trying to get better every single day, and I feel like as an organisation we have come a long way in the last several months, and I expect next time I’m in front of all if you we’ll have a lot more progress to report.”

jay monahan pif

Could there be a path back for LIV Golfers to the PGA Tour?

“We’ve made and continue to make real progress in our negotiations and our discussions with the PIF.

“I recognise that this is frustrating for all of you, but it really is not in the best interest of the PGA Tour and our membership and for PIF for me to be talking about where we are with specific elements of our discussions.

“I would just stress the fact that we’re engaged, we’re making progress, but I’m really not at liberty to share any of the details on that front.”

READ MORE: Scottie Scheffler: LIV Golfers can’t return ‘like nothing ever happened’

Could an extended category be made for Tiger Woods to play in future Players Championships?

“I think you all know Tiger well enough to know that he wants to earn his way into all of – into every competition.

“That’s his makeup. But I think as you go forward and as you evolve as an organisation and you think about how you serve and satisfy a rabid fan base, those discussions more broadly would likely be held at the Policy Board meeting, and I’m sure we would have that discussion. But he would be the hardest one to convince.”

READ MORE: Who is in the field at The Players?

Did the deal with Strategic Sports Group stall the talks with the PIF?

“No. Listen, SSG – as we went through that process, there were a number of potential investors. We made the decision on December 7 as a board unanimously to move forward with SSG.

“It was important for SSG and it was important for the tour to engage directly with the PIF prior to finalising any deal, which is why I joined principals from SSG on a trip to Saudi Arabia to meet with Yasir and members of PIF, and that’s why we continue to have productive discussions.

“There’s a mutual respect there that I think is helpful towards ultimately getting a deal done, and I think it is that level of discussion that has helped accelerate the conversations.”

READ MORE: PGA Tour strikes $3 billion deal with SSG

Can a PIF deal still be done if some players aren’t willing to welcome back LIV Golfers?

“Balancing the interests of a membership of 200-plus players is complicated, and it’s challenging. We’re fortunate to have a group of player directors and a strong Player Advisory Council with a strong system in place, where, ultimately, as we go forward and we make more progress, our player directors represent our members.

“They’re doing an exceedingly good job of doing just that. I think when you’re in a negotiation like this and you’re in a time like this, it requires open-mindedness, it requires flexibility, and it requires a long-term view and a long-term vision, and that’s what we continue to try and – we push ourselves to continue for that to be our mindset.

“But however we end up, I think that we’re not going to be able to satisfy everyone, and that goes for both sides. But what we’re trying to do is to get to the best possible outcome again for the tour and for the game, and I do think that that’s achievable.”

Do you suspect more players like Jon Rahm could join LIV Golf?

“I’m focused on every single member of the PGA Tour. I’m focused on The Players Championship this week. I’m focused on the great season that we have ahead, and we have made tremendous progress with the SSG agreement that we have, putting ourselves in a position to invest back in our tour, invest back in our fans.

“And I’m going to focus on the things that I control and we are as an organisation and we are as a leadership team and we are as a board, so that’s when I’m focused on.”

READ MORE: Jon Rahm completes move to LIV Golf

What will things look like if a PIF deal isn’t done?

“I guess I’ll answer that question if a deal isn’t concluded.”

pga tour pif

Do you agree with Rory’s idea of a ‘World Tour’ and fewer players at each event?

“That concept along with a number of other concepts have been discussed at the Policy Board, including Rory’s time on the Policy Board. Part of the dynamic of being commissioner of the PGA Tour is balancing the perspectives of not only our entire membership but perspectives of our board members, and it’s indisputable that this is a global sport.

“We have, over the years, moved to more international markets. I think the co-sanctioning that we did with the Genesis Scottish Open and the success we’ve had there, there are more opportunities on a go-forward basis.

“Balancing that within the realities of our business and our commercial model and thinking about that longer term is something that we will continue to do as a board. In fact, it’s something that we talked about at our most recent board meeting.”

READ MORE: Rory McIlroy’s dream scenario is a ‘World Tour’

Did you hold talks with Anthony Kim before he signed with LIV Golf?

“I did not have direct conversations with Anthony. Members of our team did, and they very clearly laid out what it would take for him to earn his way back to the PGA Tour. I’m glad that Anthony is healthy and well, and we wish him well.

“I would have liked to see him compete to make his way back to the tour. But that’s a decision he didn’t – obviously he made a different decision.”

READ MORE: How long will Anthony Kim last with LIV Golf?

Have any players asked for your resignation?

“There’s been a lot of good-spirited debate amongst our board. I don’t think that would be a surprise to anybody, you know, given the events of last summer.

“But we are a unified front. Our Policy Board continues to perform and function at a very high level with great support of our player directors, and the formation of PGA Tour Enterprises, with a new board, a new board comprised of four members of SSG, seven players, or six player directors and Joe Ogilvie, who is a liaison director, myself and Jo Gorder, who is the independent director
serving on that board.

“I’m excited to work with both boards. For me, (I am) honoured to serve as commissioner and now be a member of the PGA Tour Policy Board, and also honoured to be CEO of PGA Tour Enterprises and be a part of that board, and committed to working with each of those boards to make sure we’re moving this business forward and achieving what we can achieve to its full capacity.”

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Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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