'The Ball Is In His Court' - Monahan Addresses Mickelson Controversy

The PGA Tour commissioner has thrown down the gauntlet to the controversial 51-year-old

Jay Monahan addresses the press at the 2020 Players Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has said Phil Mickelson's future involvement on the Tour is in the six-time Major winner's hands. 

Monahan was speaking at the Players Championship, which gets under way at TPC Sawgrass on Thursday, and was categorical that the onus is on the outspoken 51-year-old’s return to the game, saying: “The ball is in his court”. Mickelson recently provoked controversy by criticising the PGA Tour, accusing the organisation of “obnoxious greed” over handling players’ media rights. He has also suggested that the comments were made to use the reported Saudi Super League to gain leverage over the Tour. Mickelson has since apologised for his comments. However, that wasn’t the end of the issue, with Lefty losing sponsors, facing a backlash from prominent figures in the game and taking a step away from competitive action. No date has been set for Mickelson’s return.

Monhan's most recent comments reiterate his stance at a mandatory player’s meeting, held before last month's Honda Classic. Monahan was in no mood to entertain thoughts of players leaving the Tour to play in the rumoured league, reportedly saying that anyone wishing to leave it to follow any Saudi riches on offer could “walk out that door now.” One of the players in attendance at that meeting reiterated Monahan’s firm stance on the topic confirming Monahan had said that anyone thinking of joining the reported league was detrimental to the Tour and would be “banned.” 

Later, the same week, Greg Norman, who is fronting LIV Investments, thought to be involved with the reported league, fired a warning to Monahan in a letter that ended, "This is just the beginning. It is certainly not the end." For now, Monahan seems unruffled by Mickelson's predicament. However, he does appear prepared to hold out an olive branch for Lefty when the time is right, saying: “Ultimately, the conversation will be had when he’s ready to have it, and I’ll be ready, as well.”

 

Mike Hall
Mike Hall

Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.