PGA Tour veteran offers staunch defence of Patrick Cantlay and Jay Monahan

PGA Tour policy board member Webb Simpson has provided extraordinary insight into the negotiations with LIV Golf's primary backers.

Ben Smith's picture
Mon, 15 Jan 2024
PGA Tour veteran offers staunch defence of Patrick Cantlay and Jay Monahan

Webb Simpson has provided an illuminating insight into the PGA Tour's negotiations with LIV Golf's primary backers. 

The Tour and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia are still locked in talks to ratify the 6 June 2023 framework agreement. 

It has long been suggested such a deal is so complex it will never happen. It will also come under the scrutiny of the U.S. government. 

Others have stated the 'deal to make a deal' was only announced as a means to put an end to the costly litigation that saw the PGA Tour spend more than $20m in legal fees across 2022. 

Simpson agreed in an extraordinary interview with Golfweek the deal is complex, but is adamant they are 'close' to lightning striking.

It is not just Simpson who thinks golf's 'civil war' will be over soon. 

Departing DP World Tour boss Keith Pelley revealed in his resignation letter to European golfers he has been asked to stay on for three months to push the deal over the line. 

"A deal of this magnitude and what we're talking about is so complex," Simpson told the publication. 

"Different people, different desires and we've got to work through them. We've got SSG, we've got PIF, we've got so many players and it just takes time.

"I'm hopeful that we'll have something done soon."

Simpson was referring to Strategic Sports Group, a consortium of billionaires headed by Tom Werner and John Henry's Fenway organisation that owns Liverpool Football Club and the Boston Red Sox. 

Scroll down...

Simpson said he believes the deal is a matter of 'weeks away'. 

One of the most interesting parts of the interview was Simpson's staunch defence of Patrick Cantlay

Cantlay has been battered in some reports in recent weeks and months. 

Claims have been made he has maneuvered himself into a position of power on the policy board. 

It was an allegation fellow board member Jordan Spieth found hilarious.  

Cantlay, for his part, has acknowledged he has held multiple about joining LIV Golf but has denied a power grab. 

He also argued it was impossible for one player to gain absolute control given the board's structure. 

As for Simpson, he conceded there have been times where he has disagreed with Cantlay, but he "cares a lot an is trying to do what a majority of players are asking him to do". 

Asked if Cantlay was looking out for the entire membership, Simpson said:

"I think he is. I think it's easy for the players who aren’t top players to see the top players on the board as they’ve done the elevated events, they did the PIP, they are just making it about them. I can understand how they can see that. I can promise you that is not the intention; the intention is we've got to keep guys attracted to the PGA Tour. If we don't incentivize the stars, they'll go too. The currency of sway is money – it probably always has been. We have to speak to that a little bit. I think it's fair to say all the guys on the board are working their tail off. Patrick has put in so many hours, and I really think he cares about making the Tour the best place in the world to play."

Simpson also had kind words for PGA Tour boss Jay Monahan

Monahan was forced to take time off after the 6 June announcement for anxiety owing to the seismic, about-face Tour management policy. 

There are whispers he is now just commissioner in name only and will be out the door soon. 

Simpson said Monahan has now 'totally owned' the debacle of the 6 June announcement.  

"He genuinely wants what is best for the players and he's been as transparent as he possibly can be," he said. 

Read more: