PGA Tour Commissioner Steps Back After ‘Medical Situation’

PGA Tour Commissioner Steps Back After ‘Medical Situation’

The PGA Tour said Tuesday night that Jay Monahan, its commissioner, was “recuperating from a medical situation” and that two of its other executives would oversee the tour’s day-to-day operations for the time being.

The tour’s four-sentence statement came one week after Monahan, 53, announced that the tour had reached a partnership deal with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, which bankrolled the LIV Golf league that has clashed with Monahan’s circuit for more than a year.

Monahan, the tour’s commissioner since 2017, was one of the lead negotiators during the secret talks, which led to an agreement that has caused a furor among players, outrage on Capitol Hill and the prospect that the Justice Department will seek to block the arrangement. Facing a crush of opposition to the deal, he has spent recent days crafting a response, including a session with players he called “heated,” a contentious news conference, a town-hall meeting with tour employees in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and a pointed letter to lawmakers in Washington.

The statement, attributed to Monahan and the tour’s board, did not elaborate on the commissioner’s condition but said that the board “fully supports Jay and appreciates everyone respecting his privacy.”

The tour did not give a timeline for Monahan’s return and said that Ron Price, the circuit’s chief operating officer, and Tyler Dennis, the president of the PGA Tour, would take charge in the interim.

“Our thoughts are with Jay and his family during his absence, and we wish him a speedy recovery,” Price and Dennis said in a statement. “We have a strong and experienced leadership team in place, and our priority is to support our players and continue the work underway to further lead the PGA Tour and golf’s future.”

Monahan has worked for the tour since 2008, with stints as its chief operating officer, its chief marketing officer and as executive director of the Players Championship. Under the deal that Monahan helped broker this spring after he spent months condemning the rush of Saudi cash into men’s professional golf, the moneymaking components of the PGA Tour, LIV Golf and the DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour, are to be housed in a new company.

Monahan is expected to be its chief executive, and Yasir al-Rumayyan, the governor of the Saudi wealth fund, is in line for its chairmanship. Monahan and his lieutenants have insisted that the company’s structure, which allows for extensive Saudi investment, will give the PGA Tour ultimate authority over the most elite tiers of professional golf. But al-Rumayyan’s role and the potential for significant infusions of Saudi cash have helped stir doubts about the extent of Monahan’s authority.

It is not clear when the deal will close, but the agreement has been the subject of intense discussion and skepticism among players at the U.S. Open, a major tournament scheduled to begin Thursday at the Los Angeles Country Club.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, the wealth fund said it was “committed to working closely with the PGA leadership and board to advance our previously announced transaction to invest significantly in the growth of golf for the benefit of players, fans and the expansion of the game around the world.”

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