Jay Monahan, in an interview with ESPN published this week, says the PGA Tour and LIV Golf can’t come together, nor can they coexist.
The PGA Tour’s commissioner’s comments, taken during last week’s Presidents Cup, came as Saudi-backed LIV Golf will play its sixth event this week, with golfers who have both jumped to the upstart for large, guaranteed money, and been suspended by the Tour for doing so. The sides have also sued each other, with LIV’s lawsuit coming in early August and the Tour’s countersuit coming this past week.
In the ESPN interview — which you can and should read in full here — Monahan was asked this:
“Some players have said that the Tour and LIV need to come together. What is your opinion?”
“Well, I think words and actions are important,” Monahan said in the interview. “I think it’s impractical when you look at the fact that certain players have sued the PGA Tour, their employer has sued the PGA Tour. It’s not in the cards. It hasn’t been in the cards, and it’s not in the cards. I think we’ve been pretty consistent on that front.”
ESPN’s Mark Schlabach then asked: Can the PGA Tour and LIV Golf coexist?
“I’d provide the same answer,” Monahan said in the interview. “The answer to that is they’ve gone down their path and I think we have been pretty consistent that we’re going down ours, and I don’t see that happening. Haven’t, and I don’t.”
The comments are noteworthy. Over various interviews, Monahan has been consistent in those thoughts, though players recently have at least suggested some sort of discussion. This week, Rory McIlroy, one of the PGA Tour’s biggest proponents, said “there is a time and a place where everyone that’s involved here should sit down and try to work together,” though he also noted the difficulty in doing so in light of the lawsuits.
“There’s obviously this court case that’s going to happen in February with the DP World Tour and then the one in the States, whenever that gets — so that’s what makes it very difficult,” McIlroy said ahead of the DP World Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. “I’ve seen a few guys have sort of dropped their name from that suit in the States over the last 24 hours. But that’s what makes it difficult.
“And I think, as well, there’s a natural timeline here to let temperatures just sort of settle down a little bit and people can maybe go into those mediations with cooler heads and not be so emotional about it all.
“But look, I don’t want a fractured game. I never have. You look at some other sports and what’s happened, and the game of golf is ripping itself apart right now and that’s no good for anyone. It’s no good for the guys on, you know, this side or the sort of traditional system, and it’s no good for the guys on the other side, either. It’s no good for anyone. There is a time and a place for it. I just think right now, with where everything is, it’s probably not the right time.
“But saying that, I don’t think we can let it go too much longer. So I’m all for everyone sitting around the table and trying to figure something out for sure.”
In the meantime, the sides will play, and rumors will persist of additional golfers leaving the Tour for LIV. In the ESPN interview, Monahan was asked what he was telling players to persuade them to stay, and the commissioner gave a lengthy response, touching on the Tour’s money and established events and the ability “to be able to pick and choose your schedule, to be able to identify the companies and the people that you want to partner with.”
Toward the end of the ESPN interview, Monahan was also asked this:
Why will the PGA Tour outlast LIV Golf?
He again resold his brand.
“Because the game, at the highest level, is about aspiration,” Monahan said in the interview. “It’s about context. And any young kid today, any kid that’s going to be playing the game going forward, ultimately is going to want to win the biggest championships, the biggest tournaments, and put themselves in a position and on a path over the course of their golf journey to get to the PGA Tour and to again, achieve at the highest level. We are going to continue to evolve and get stronger in every single area of that spectrum or of that journey.”
Again, you can (and should) read the interview here.