Can Jay Monahan survive as Commissioner of the PGA Tour after agreeing on deal with LIV?


Ordinarily in the week before the US Open gets underway, all the talk in the golfing world would be centred on who might win the toughest major on the calendar. This year, however, things are different.

Indeed, events have taken a dramatic turn on the eve of the 123rd playing of the most demanding major in golf after news of the PGA Tour’s unexpected decision to begin working alongside the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series.

The show must go on but the future is uncertain

Of course, this bombshell announcement doesn’t mean that the major won’t take place and there is, of course, still significant interest in the latest US Open golf betting with most fans tipping Scottie Scheffler to win at a price of 15/2. So yes, whilst the show will go on, this major set to be hosted at the Los Angeles Country Club will at the same time, merely be a subplot in a much bigger tale as the world begins to come to terms with what a merger between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf Series might mean.

There is, it should be said, still a chance that this historic deal won’t be approved by the PGA board. Any decision to veto a collaboration between the PGA and LIV will ultimately hinge on how much disapproval is aimed at the Tour’s Commissioner Jay Monahan by the players in the wake of the announcement. The PGA Tour’s Commissioner was the driving force behind this unexpected U-turn after secretly meeting with the governor of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, Yasir bin Al-Rumayyan, in Venice and London over the last two months, which has led to calls for Monahan to resign.

During these meetings, the pair were able to identify a way in which both their organisations could benefit if they were to begin collaborating.

Innovation at the cost of transparency 

This in itself is not a legal issue and typically in the world of business, partnering with companies who share the same vision for the future is an intelligent decision that usually ensures growth. Again, this may indeed be the case for the PGA and LIV as both institutions enter an era of unprecedented abundance.

The problem lies not in the fact that a partnership has been agreed upon but rather that Monahan promised on multiple occasions that he would never do business with LIV – a rival brand that was seen as a sinister threat to the long-term sustainability of the PGA Tour’s business model.

The 53-year-old’s rallying cry against the Saudi rebel league led him to ask the members of the PGA Tour for complete loyalty in the face of being offered hundreds of millions to sign with LIV. Subsequently, most players sided with Monahan and passed up eye-watering cheques to join the newly formed LIV enterprise.

Now, only a few months on from those pleas, it emerges that Monahan has spent his time with LIV’s think tank conducting a private deal whilst on the canals of Venice and golf courses of London that go directly against his strong public sentiments.

What is the price of survival?

Yes, unsettling change may well be the price of survival in professional golf and history may prove that Monahan acted in the best interests of the tour’s long-term future. Simultaneously, Monahan has also burned bridges with most of his members that may never be repaired. Whilst the PGA Tour may now thrive thanks to an injection of billions from the state of Saudi Arabia, it remains unclear if Monahan will survive in his role as Commissioner.

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