Jay Monahan Breaks Silence On LIV Threat - 'My Heart Goes Out To 9/11 Families'

The PGA Tour Commissioner made his first public appearance since the first LIV Golf event

Monohan watches on as he walks up the fairway
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The PGA Tour's reaction to the LIV Golf Invitational Series has been pretty clear, with Commissioner Jay Monahan banning all players who are teeing it up in the Saudi-backed LIV series and those who play in future events.

Now, at the RBC Canadian Open, Monahan has made his first public appearance since the LIV event at Centurion Club, with the Commissioner giving an in-depth interview with CBS' Jim Nantz.  

Speaking to Nantz, Monahan explained that: “It’s been an unfortunate week that was created by some unfortunate decisions. Those decisions being players choosing to violate our tournament regulations. It’s my job to protect, defend, and celebrate our loyal PGA Tour members, our partners and our fans and that’s exactly what I did. I don’t think it was a surprise to anybody. Given how clear I had been about how we were going to handle this situation.

“We made a decision last week to suspend those players, and they’re no longer eligible for tournament play and that, at this point, is all we’re prepared to talk about. We’ll see how things continue to develop as we go down the road here.”

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Following the first event at the Centurion Club, a group representing the victims’ families and survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States accused the American players taking part in the LIV Golf Series of sportswashing and betraying their country.

In a letter sent to the agents of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Kevin Na, 911familiesunited.org expressed their anger towards the players for competing in the LIV Golf Invitational Series event.

Monahan, who stated that "I have two families that are close to me that lost loved ones" added, "my heart goes out to them and I would ask that any player that has left, or that would ever consider leaving, have you ever had to apologise for being a member of the PGA Tour?"

Phil Mickelson putts whilst Dustin Johnson looks on

Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson were the main headliners at the first LIV Golf Series event at Centurion Club

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As of writing, Bryson DeChambeau, Pat Perez and Patrick Reed are the most recent players to jump ship to the Saudi-backed series, with other PGA Tour players also linked to LIV Golf.

Speaking to Nick Faldo and Jim Nantz, who had given their opinions on the series just 24 hours earlier, Monahan yet again didn't mince his words when asked why players couldn't play both the PGA Tour and LIV Series: “Why do they need us so badly? Because those players have chosen to sign multi-year lucrative contracts to play in a series of exhibition matches against the same players over and over again.

“You look at that versus what we see here today (RBC Canadian Open), and that’s why they need us so badly. You’ve got true, pure competition. The best players in the world are here at the RBC Canadian Open, with millions of fans watching, and in this game, it’s true and pure competition that creates the profile in the presence of the world’s greatest players."

Monahan converses with Dustin Johnson on the seventh tee during a pro-am prior to the RBC Heritage at Harbor Town Golf Links

Monahan converses with Johnson, who played in the first LIV event, at the 2022 RBC Heritage 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Despite the LIV threat, Monahan seemed to be in high spirits, with the PGA Tour Commissioner stating: "I couldn’t be more excited about where we go from here. We’ve talked about the fact that we’re going to grow faster over the next 10 years than we have at any point in our history.

“You look at this incredible group of young, talented, international or emerging members, playing at the highest level of the game to a cadre of supporters from our media partners, to our corporate partners, to our community partners.

“Additionally, life is all about meaning and purpose and we’re an organization with meaning and purpose. The best players in the world make wonderful things happen on this platform day in and day out, week in and week out. This organization is going to continue to evolve in the face and shape of the great members that we have here. And we’re going to continue to advocate and grow this game in the right way and continue to make meaningful contributions as an organization. I couldn’t be more excited about the future.”

Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.