As Jay Monahan returns to work, see his career highlights as PGA Tour commissioner

In January 2017, Jay Monahan became the commissioner of the PGA Tour after holding several different positions within the organization. Most notably, he ran the Players Championship after moving to Florida in 2008.

Since taking over, he’s dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic, the emergence of the LIV Golf League and a total restructure of the Tour schedule.

More recently, Monahan was forced to step back after a medical emergency. He was scheduled to return to work on July 17.

As Monahan comes back to the job, we look back on his entire career as PGA Tour Commissioner, and every roadblock he’s been forced to deal with along the way.

January 2017: Monahan becomes PGA Tour Commissioner

Just five days into his new position as commissioner of the PGA Tour, Monahan admitted there was much work to do. As a lifelong player who learned so many lessons through this game, he said he was humbled by the opportunity, and excited about the road ahead.

Monahan, 46, who has filled various roles within the Tour since moving to Florida to run The Players Championship in 2008, maintained a singular big-picture focus as he got underway in his first year in office: “It’s to make Mr. (Arnold) Palmer proud.”

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Written by Jeff Babineau

March 2020: Monahan shuts down Players Championship due to COVID-19

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said there were two factors that forced him to call off the Players Championship the previous night.

The first was his players coming off the course after the first round and asking questions about logistics and safety in relation to the coronavirus, particularly European players who asked about how they might get home or how their families might get to the United States.

“Our players are always vocal,” Monahan said. “We were proactive in trying to share our thinking.”

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Written by Adam Schupak

March 2020: Monahan gives up salary due to COVID-19 pandemic

The coronavirus crisis that suspended professional golf around the world led to suspensions at PGA Tour headquarters — specifically the salary of commissioner Jay Monahan.

Golfweek learned that Monahan informed the PGA Tour’s board that he has decided to forgo his salary indefinitely during the emergency.

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Written by Eamon Lynch

June 2020: Monahan discusses PGA Tour returning to action during pandemic

Jay Monahan
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan wears a mask at the Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands. Photo by David Dusek/Golfweek

The return to action after a 91-day layoff at the Charles Schwab Championship filled Monahan with a sense of excitement.

“It’s almost like when you went away for school for the summer and then you come back in the fall, those first couple days, seeing people that you haven’t seen in a while, it’s that good feeling,” he said.

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Written by Adam Schupak

May 2021: Monahan digs a line in the sand against upstart leagues

A friend who knows him once told me that there are two Jay Monahans. “There’s Golf Jay and Hockey Jay,” he said of the mulish Boston native, “and you don’t want to meet Hockey Jay.”

It sounds as though it was Hockey Jay who addressed a meeting of PGA Tour players this week in Charlotte, at which the commissioner laid out in unambiguous terms the sanctions awaiting anyone who joins either of the splinter circuits promising gaudy sums in a bid to upend professional golf’s established order.

Multiple sources had Monahan reiterating his long-standing position: It means an immediate suspension from the PGA Tour and likely a lifetime ban. For the handful of players who thought their ship had come in with offers reported at $30 million, it must have been sobering to realize Monahan is bent on ensuring that ship – the seaworthiness of which is decidedly unproven – will have no life raft.

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Written by Eamon Lynch

February 2022: Monahan says PGA Tour moving on from potential Saudi Arabia-backed golf league

Monahan said he has the right to strip PGA Tour membership from players who would join the proposed rival league backed by Saudi Arabia.

Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf Investments, the group behind the potential league, insisted Monahan can’t ban players if they join the golf league.

This suggests that if the league does launch, the battle with the PGA Tour would not play out on the golf course but in the courtroom. But that’s down the road.

For now, Monahan said the PGA Tour will forge ahead away from the league and the noise associated with it.

“I told the players we’re moving on and anyone on the fence needs to make a decision,” Monahan told the Associated Press.

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Written by Steve DiMeglio

May 2022: Tour denies players permission to play Saudi-funded event

The PGA Tour denied its members permission to play in the Saudi-funded golf tournament in London. The denials were sent to players who had sought permission.

It had been expected that the PGA Tour would grant waivers for the LIV Golf Invitational event near London because of a precedent allowing players limited releases for overseas events. (All members are required to seek a conflicting event release to compete in non-Tour events.)

However, it is thought the decision is based on a belief that the event in the U.K. is effectively part of a rival series. LIV Golf, which is funded by the Saudi Arabian regime, announced a schedule of eight tournaments — the second of which is due to be played July 1-3 in Portland, Oregon — with plans for more to come.

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Written by Eamon Lynch

June 2022: Monahan drops hammer on golfers playing LIV Golf Invitational Series

2022 Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Ian Poulter talks with PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan during a pro-am prior to the 2022 Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

In a memo sent to members of the PGA Tour on Thursday, Monahan was true to his word toward players who opted to play in the LIV Golf Invitational Series.

You are no longer welcome on the PGA Tour.

“We have followed the Tournament Regulations from start to finish in responding to those players who have decided to turn their backs on the PGA Tour by willfully violating a regulation,” Monahan wrote in the memo obtained by Golfweek. “Simultaneous to you receiving this memo, the players are being notified that they are suspended or otherwise no longer eligible to participate in PGA Tour tournament play, including the Presidents Cup.

“This also applies to all tours sanctioned by the PGA Tour: the Korn Ferry Tour, PGA Tour Champions, PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamérica.”

The memo was sent shortly after the first tee shots were hit in London in the first LIV Golf Invitational Series events.

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Written by Steve DiMeglio

June 2022: Monahan announces several changes at Travelers Championship press conference

The Travelers Championship, with a date that many people would think is among the worst on the PGA Tour calendar — the week after the U.S. Open — is a success story that commissioner Jay Monahan loves to discuss. He knows the tournament well, having graduated from Trinity College, which is just 11 miles away from TPC River Highlands in Hartford. But on a soggy Wednesday afternoon, Monahan was in the media center to talk about something else: the threat the LIV Golf Series poses to the PGA Tour and what the tour plans to do moving forward.

As it turned out, Monahan spoke for just over 40 minutes and outlined a new structure the PGA Tour plans to implement.

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Written by David Dusek

June 2022: PGA Tour-DP World Tour enter 'joint venture'

The PGA Tour and DP World Tour expanded and strengthened their strategic alliance into an operational joint venture partnership.

“The more our teams have worked together the more one thing became clear: We are better working together than separately,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said.

The PGA Tour badly needed to keep an ally in the DP World Tour and prevent LIV Golf from sinking its tentacles – and deep pockets – into a circuit with a global footprint.

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Written by Adam Schupak

August 2022: Monahan sends memo to PGA Tour players after LIV Golf Series lawsuit

On Wednesday afternoon, the Wall Street Journal reported that 11 LIV Golf Series members, including Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, filed lawsuits against the PGA Tour in response to suspensions they received after making the move to the Saudi-backed circuit.

Not long after, Monahan sent a memo to Tour players addressing the situation.

“We have been preparing to protect our membership and contest this latest attempt to disrupt our Tour, and you should be confident in the legal merits of our position,” Monahan said in the statement. “Fundamentally, these suspended players — who are now Saudi Golf League employees — have walked away from the Tour and now want back in.”

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Written by Riley Hamel

August 2022: Elevated schedule unveiled, players commit to 20 events

2022 Tour Championship
Rory McIlroy looks on during a news conference by PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan ahead of the 2022 Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

Monahan announced several significant changes to the PGA Tour, which will continue to compensate the best golfers in the world quite handsomely.

For fans, the best news was that the top players committed to playing more often in the same events.

“I think if you’re trying to sell a product to TV and to sponsors and to try to get as many eyeballs on professional golf as possible, you need to at least let people know what they’re tuning in for,” Rory McIlroy said. “When I tune into a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game I expect to see Tom Brady throw a football. When I tune into a Formula 1 race I expect to see Lewis Hamilton in a car. Sometimes what’s happened on the PGA Tour is we all act independently and we sort of have our own schedules, and that means that we never really get together all that often.”

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Written by Adam Schupak

September 2022: Monahan shoots down idea of PGA Tour, LIV Golf coexisting

Phil Mickelson addressed the ongoing battle between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, saying “the best solution is for us to come together.”

But after Monahan’s recent interview with ESPN, Lefty better not hold his breath. Monahan addressed everything from the Presidents Cup to Tiger Woods’ leadership amid the Tour’s struggles against the upstart circuit led by Greg Norman and backed by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. Most importantly, he flat-out said LIV Golf and the PGA Tour cannot work together or coexist.

“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,” said Monahan. “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.”

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Written by Adam Woodard

March 2023: Phil Mickelson claims Monahan previously shut down his own idea for elevated events

The PGA Tour announced radical changes coming to the 2024 schedule.

In several designated events next season, there will be no cut and the fields will be limited to 70-78 players. These changes will not apply to majors, the Players or FedEx Cup Playoff events.

The ratifications received mixed reviews not only from fans but some Tour players including James Hahn.

“All the big names that are talking about this ‘new product,’ if you just came out and said, ‘Hey, we’re doing this for the money,’ they want more guaranteed money and this is another way to funnel more money to the top players in the world, I’d have a lot more respect for them,” he said in a recent interview with Golfweek writer Adam Schupak.

Phil Mickelson claimed to have approached PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan with a similar idea for events and said he was denied.

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Written by Riley Hamel

June 2023: Jay Monahan, PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan sit down to discuss shocking new merger

Monahan and PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan sat down for a joint interview on CNBC to discuss the merger news that rocked the golf world.

After years of turmoil between LIV Golf and the PGA Tour, the two entities, along with the DP World Tour, announced a new yet-to-be-named entity that would combine PIF’s golf-related commercial businesses and rights (including LIV Golf) with the commercial businesses and rights of the PGA Tour and DP World Tour into a collectively owned, for-profit enterprise. Monahan called it a historic day.

“There’s been a lot of tension in our sport over the last couple of years,” Monahan told CNBC, “but what we’re talking about today is coming together to unify the game of golf and to do so under one umbrella.”

Read the full story here.

Written by Beth Ann Nichols

June 2023: Jay Monahan on 'owning his hypocrisy,' lack of transparency, 9/11 family concerns

Jay Monahan
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan at the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass on March 12, 2023, in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

Monahan dropped a bombshell on the golf world when he announced Tuesday that the Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s PIF, which had underwritten LIV Golf, agreed to merge their commercial interests.

While that put an end to the messy legal entanglements that surely were a concern to all parties, Monahan was in the doghouse with his players, fans and even the 9/11 Families United, who blasted him for becoming “a Saudi shill.

Speaking to the Golf Channel from the RBC Canadian Open in Toronto, Monahan attempted to explain his reasons for his about-face and why being partners rather than rivals with PIF is in the best interest to golf’s leading entities, stressing, “This was an opportunity to unify the game and put the PGA Tour in a control position.”

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Written by Adam Schupak

June 2023: Jay Monahan is 'recuperating from a medical situation'

The Tour announced that commissioner Jay Monahan was “recuperating from a medical situation.”

“The Board fully supports Jay and appreciates everyone respecting his privacy,” said the Tour via a statement. “During Jay’s absence, Ron Price, Chief Operating Officer, and Tyler Dennis, Executive Vice President & President, PGA Tour, will lead the day-to-day operations of the PGA Tour with the assistance of the great team Jay has built, ensuring seamless continuity. We will provide further updates as appropriate.”

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Written by Adam Woodard

July 2023: Jay Monahan tells PGA Tour board he’s coming back to work

Multiple sources confirmed to Golfweek that Monahan informed the Tour’s Policy Board that he would resume his duties. A memo that went to the board stated that Monahan will return to work on July 17.

Read the full story here.

Written by Eamon Lynch

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek