CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When the Commish is willing to speak, reporters want to listen.
On Wednesday, Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour’s big cheese, stopped by the Ron Green Jr. and Sr. media center at the Wells Fargo Championship to discuss the state of the Tour.
Monahan and his team have been reinventing the Tour’s schedule for next season seemingly on the fly ever since a player-only meeting was held last August at the BMW Championship. While he conceded the changes still remain in rough-draft form and it’s too soon to get into the nitty-gritty details, he fielded dozens of questions during a scrum with reporters, and here are five things we learned from The Commish.
Rory McIlroy to be docked $3 million of his PIP bonus
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watc a shot on the eighth hole during a practice round prior to the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Country Club on May 03, 2023 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
When McIlroy skipped his second designated event this season at the RBC Heritage, one more than players are allowed – he opened himself up to forfeiting $3 million from his $12 million Player Impact Program bonus.
But earlier this year Monahan had confirmed that he was allowed Commissioner’s discretion in such matters. Well, it turns out there will be no preferential treatment for McIlroy in this matter.
“Players should be able to make a decision not to play. I think that’s the beauty of our model. But he knew the consequences of that based on that criteria, and that’s our position,” Monahan said.
Later a reporter asked for clarification: “So the plan is to withhold $3 million, is that correct?”
“Correct,” Monahan answered. “The rule for tournament participation, when we made the commitment to this schedule for the Player Impact Program, we adjusted for one opt-out. And then for any second opt-out, you forfeit the 25 percent unless there was a medical issue. So based on that criteria, it’s actually fairly cut and dry.”
Will Tiger and Jack be able to retain a 36-hole cut at there events?
Tiger Woods plays his second shot on the 18th hole during the third round of the The Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club on February 18, 2023 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
It’s been firmly established that the designated events will be limited fields. As of now, Monahan said he anticipates they will also be no-cut events, but that isn’t a done deal. Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus have asked about having their respective events —the Genesis Invitational and the Memorial — continue to have cuts.
“At this point, all those designated events would be no cut events. But we’re in the middle of figuring all this out,” Monahan said. “I had a conversation with Tiger last week about it, and so I think for the changes that we’re looking to make going into next year to have all of our top players there for our fans to know at the beginning of the week as soon as that event is on the calendar, players are going be there all four rounds, both from an onsite standpoint, from a television standpoint, there’s real benefits to it. You’ve seen players that have been at the cut line or below the cutline perform to get themselves back in position and you get the best players in the world to be able to make up ground against those fields, I think it will be an interesting storyline.”
On schedule cadence and when the 2024 schedule will be released
Monahan also said it is likely that the designated events will be held in consecutive weeks. “We would likely like to avoid going designated event to a full-field event, back to a designated event,” he said.
Still under discussion is whether the same tournaments will receive elevated status on a rotating basis or if the designated events will be in those positions on a long-term basis.
“If we need to make adjustments, we will but I think when we do announce the schedule, it’s more likely that those events that are in those positions would be in those positions on a long-term basis.
Asked whether he has set a deadline to complete the schedule for next year, he said, “I’ve learned to never set a deadline on the schedule. And I think I said I gave you guys a 60-day window last year, and I’m never doing that again. So, I’ll leave it at: ‘How about this summer?’”
USGA/R&A proposal and rolling back the ball
USGA tee marker (David Dusek/Golfweek)
Monahan was close to the vest on the subject of the proposed model local rule that gives competition organizers the option to require use of golf balls that are tested under modified launch conditions to address the impacts of distance in golf. Asked about the Tour’s stance on the matter, Monahan said many words that told very little.
“We’re doing what we always do, which is talking to them. We’ve got a team that’s in active conversations with the USGA. I have a commitment to work with them to really understand and to open ourselves up to – they’re going to be coming to our PAC meeting. There’s a process that we go through. I’m not gonna talk about my position on this until we’ve gone through that process. This is how we typically handle things.”
Tiger and the Presidents Cup
Presidents Cup assistant captain Jim Furyk speaks during a press conference at Innisbrook Copperhead Course on March 7, 2017 in Palm Harbor, Florida. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
On Tuesday, the PGA Tour announced that Jim Furyk, who was the U.S. Ryder Cup captain in 2018, would take up the post as captain of the 2024 U.S. Presidents Cup team in the biennial competition. But given the recent surgery to Woods, was he given any consideration?
“The way that the process works, (2022 U.S. captain) Davis (Love III) leads, just like Trevor (Immelman, the 2022 International team captain) led the process. I know there were conversations with Tiger, but Tiger was pretty clear when he captained the President’s Cup in Australia (in 2019), that was going be his moment,” Monahan said. “He wants that moment to be shared with others. He wants that to be part of the team-building process that they have. The thought of him doing it certainly was on a number of people’s minds, but once he tells you he’s gonna do something a certain way, that’s the way he’s going to do it.”