PGA Tour boss reveals why Tiger and Rory were kept in the dark over LIV merger

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has addressed why he kept Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy in the dark over the shock deal to merge with LIV Golf. 

Ben Smith's picture
Wed, 7 Jun 2023
PGA Tour boss reveals why Tiger and Rory were kept in the dark over LIV merger

Embattled PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan has addressed why he kept Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy in the dark over the shock announcement to partner with LIV Golf. 

Just when men's professional golf couldn't get any crazier and without any warning whatsoever, it was confirmed an agreement was struck between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and their Saudi-backed rival on 6 June. 

That agreement is said to have been made over a series of secret meetings between Monahan and LIV Golf mastermind Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who is also the chairman of Newcastle United and governor of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund. 

The deal appears to bring an immediate end to the tensions between the circuits that pre-dated the inaugural LIV event at Centurion Club last June.  

Monahan spoke to media in a shared conference call later on Monday, insisting he knows he will be labelled a hypocrite given his past comments about PGA Tour players leaving for their rival. 

His comments come as: 

What changed?

Monahan said: 

"Listen, I think that as time went on, and you've heard me say a couple times circumstances change, What changed? I looked at where we were at that point in time, and it was the right point in time to have a conversation. Going back to the origin of LIV, I said this, they needed to go down their path and we were going to go down ours.
"We've done everything we can within our control to improve and grow the PGA Tour, and they have launched LIV; they've proceeded with LIV; they've made progress with LIV. But ultimately it was looking at the broader picture and saying that I don't think it's right or sustainable to have this tension in our sport, and to be able to organize and orient this in a way where, again, we're in a control position, we have an investor, a great and world-class investor, and I recognize everything that I've said in the past and in my prior positions." 

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On accusations of hypocrisy, Monahan said:

"I recognize that people are going to call me a hypocrite. Anytime I said anything, I said it with the information that I had at that moment, and I said it based on someone that's trying to compete for the PGA Tour and our players. I accept those criticisms. But circumstances do change. I think that in looking at the big picture and looking at it this way, that's what got us to this point.”
"You know, it probably didn't seem this way to them, but as I looked to our players, those players that have been loyal to the PGA Tour, I'm confident that the move that they made the right decision,” Monahan said. “They've helped rearchitect the future of the PGA Tour. They've moved us to a more pro-competitive model.

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On the fact that Woods and McIlroy were kept out of the loop, Monahan said:

"The binding elements are tied to the litigation. A lot of these details we've got to work through. If we had announced a definitive agreement this morning and I was calling them in the morning and I had made commitments on behalf of the PGA Tour and not had an opportunity to fully vet them with our Policy Board and with those two individuals in a larger group, then that would be a complete miss on my part, and I recognize that. But this was us reaching a framework agreement. We think it's the right agreement.
"Obviously Tiger and Rory's perspective is one that I understand very well, and it was part of my thinking throughout these conversations, and it will be a part of my thinking going forward. Now that we're in a framework agreement, I look forward to talking to all of our players, including the two of them, to make certain that this comes off the right way." 

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