PGA Tour Loses Another Director After Shock Jimmy Dunne Resignation

Mark Flaherty is the second independent director to step down in less than a week

PGA Tour Policy Board
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Mark Flaherty has resigned from the PGA Tour Policy Board, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan confirmed on Sunday, making him the second independent director to step down in less than a week.

Last Monday, Jimmy Dunne, who helped negotiate the PGA Tour's framework agreement with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment (PIF) fund last year, left his role.

Monahan confirmed Flaherty’s departure on a Sunday, when he shared a memo with the Tour membership and thanked Flaherty for his “countless contributions”.

"It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve on the Policy Board for the past 4 1⁄2 years,” Flaherty wrote in a letter to board directors.

“Golf has always been a significant part of my life. Being able to blend my passion for the sport with the intricate workings and growth of the PGA Tour has been a truly rewarding experience.

“I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Commissioner Monahan and Chairman Herlihy for their leadership in driving a successful business and product agenda; it is one that consistently prioritizes our fans, players, title sponsors, media, tournaments, marketing partners and volunteers.”

When Dunne departed last week, he cited he lack of “meaningful progress” towards a unification deal with the PIF and said he felt his role had become “utterly superfluous” given the fact players outnumber the independent directors on the board of the new for-profit entity, PGA Tour Enterprises.

Dunne joined the Policy Board in January 2023 and alongside PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and board chairman Ed Herlihy negotiated the framework agreement with PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan that shocked the men's game. 

An initial expiration date of December 31 of last year for the framework agreement was extended and talks are reportedly still continuing between PGA Tour and PIF representatives.

Rory McIlroy speaks to the media ahead of the 2024 PGA Championship

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Players from both sides of the divide were caught off guard by the June 6 announcement, with Monahan adding a seat on the PGA Tour board for Tiger Woods in the aftermath. 

Rory McIlroy has been advocating for a deal to be done and for there to be a more global schedule, but the Northern Irishman was recently denied his spot back on the board after Webb Simpson offered to give him his seat.

At the PGA Championship on Wednesday, McIlroy said he was less confident the Tour would reach an agreement with the PIF after Dunne's resignation.

“I think it's a huge loss for the PGA Tour, if they are trying to get this deal done with the PIF and trying to unify the game,” he said.

“Jimmy was basically the relationship, the sort of conduit between the PGA Tour and PIF. It's been really unfortunate that he has not been involved for the last few months, and I think part of the reason that everything is stalling at the minute is because of that.”

Michael Weston
Contributing editor

Michael has been with Golf Monthly since 2008. As a multimedia journalist, he has also worked for The Football Association, where he created content to support the men's European Championships, The FA Cup, London 2012, and FA Women's Super League. As content editor at Foremost Golf, Michael worked closely with golf's biggest equipment manufacturers, and has developed an in-depth knowledge of this side of the industry. He's now a regular contributor, covering instruction, equipment and feature content. Michael has interviewed many of the game's biggest stars, including six world number ones, and has attended and reported on many Major Championships and Ryder Cups. He's a member of Formby Golf Club.