When one of their colleagues asked for new leadership during a meeting with commissioner Jay Monahan on Tuesday at Oakdale Golf & Country Club in Ontario, Canada, home of this week’s RBC Canadian Open, PGA Tour players gave a standing ovation.
That says a lot about how players reacted to Monahan’s announcement earlier in the day that the tour had agreed in principle to form a jointly owned for-profit organization that will house the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and LIV Golf League.
Monahan gave the membership a general concept in a meeting that lasted slightly longer than an hour. However, details must yet be worked out.
Veteran Johnson Wagner, who attended the meeting through a mobile phone speaker and reported on it for Golf Channel, claimed that players were generally disappointed with the news and felt deceived by Monahan and tour leadership.
When Monahan was questioned if he had been honest with the players at one point, he acknowledged that he had not. According to Wagner, the players appear to be 90-10 against the planned merger, which includes a clause resolving all outstanding legal disputes between the parties.
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“Look, I think Jay does a good job for us. I do,” responded Ryan Armour, one of the 16 players on the Player Advisory Council, which held its conference call meeting following the player gathering, which around 80 players attended.
I consider him to be highly intelligent. He demonstrated excellent leadership by handling the difficulties with Covid in a way that helped us get through the crisis. However, today there is a lot of disappointment.
My classmates have expressed to me that they currently feel deceived. Twenty to twenty-five guys at most used the word. They experience a backstab. They also feel belittled. “The PAC call was a little less aggressive,” Armour continued.
“We’re taking a step back to see how this develops. But like I said, for a year and a half now, we have been told how evil certain golf leagues are, how evil their funding is and where it’s coming from. And now, no financials have changed hands yet, but the mood in the room is that guys feel used.”
Geoff Ogilvy commented after the meeting, “I’m glad I wasn’t Jay today.” “There’s some grumpy players in there. I feel a little bit sort of, I’m not lied to, but just that the, the tour has sort of changed its position quickly like, and dropped it on us really fast. So maybe there’s a feeling of a lack of trust a little bit in the leadership. … That’s not everyone in the room. It’s not me. It just feels like nobody really knows what’s happening and the players are out of the loop, but no one really ever likes being out of a loop. Everyone likes bit of information and especially when it’s your livelihood and your job and the sport that you love. So, it was an interesting meeting and sometimes meetings can get a little bit spicy.”
It appears that spicy is over the top. Some athletes referred to Monahan as a hypocrite. Ogilvy replied, “It was mentioned, yeah,” “He took it really well. I mean, that’s what the leader has to do though. The leader has to stand up and deliver good news sometimes and bad news sometimes.”
“It was a tough meeting for both sides of things. I guess for Jay and all the players because nobody really knows what this is gonna look like in the end. And I guess one of the feelings is the players here just want the loyal players rewarded and not almost punished for staying.”
“I don’t like the word hypocrite. Jay put himself into a corner with some of the things he said over the last year,” Armour added. “The way some of the younger guys went at him, they brought up some of his quotes. There were some strong emotions in there.”
If you are interested to know more about this news, then see this tweeter post that NUCLR GOLF shares:
🚨😤 Goeff Ogilvy spoke to reporters after the players meeting:
Q: Did any players call Jay a hypocrite during the meeting?
Ogilvy: “It was mentioned yeah, and he took it, he said yeah”
— NUCLR GOLF (@NUCLRGOLF) June 6, 2023
Now the debate is whether Monahan should remain, at least in terms of what some players believe. He is currently negotiating an agreement that, based on all indications, will significantly increase the wealth of the tour’s participants.
“He’s helping to make golf a major sport,” one player supportive of the commissioner said. “His sole job is to make money for the players. That’s his top goal.”
Others, though, aren’t certain that Monahan is the best CEO for the company beyond completing the merger with LIV Golf. A different player who heard over the phone reported that the topic of new leadership on tour had been discussed four or five times.
One seasoned player remarked, “Sounds like our membership needs to start a search to find someone who is not in the PGA Tour, who better understands sports and marketing and who can make decisions that are best for the game and everyone in it and not just what’s best for today.”
“There are still a lot of details that we don’t know, but this is not the greatest look for the tour’s leadership to be so adamant in one direction and then just turn around and do something else.”
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