'The PGA Tour Can’t Compete' - Monahan On LIV Rivalry

The commissioner admitted that, financially at least, LIV Golf is way ahead of the rest

Jay Monahan, commissioner of the PGA Tour, has admitted that they can't compete with LIV Golf financially
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jay Monahan has admitted the PGA Tour cannot compete with LIV Golf financially.

The Tour’s commissioner called the Saudi-backed upstart an “irrational threat” and questioned the motives behind the newly-launched Series, which started earlier this month at the Centurion Club just outside London.

“I am not naive,” said Monahan. “If this is an arms race and if the only weapons here are dollar bills, the PGA Tour can't compete. The PGA Tour, an American institution, can't compete with a foreign monarchy that is spending billions of dollars in attempt to buy the game of golf.

“We welcome good, healthy competition. The LIV Saudi golf league is not that. It's an irrational threat; one not concerned with the return on investment or true growth of the game. Currently no one organisation owns or dominates the game of golf.

“Instead, the various entities, be it Augusta National or the USGA or the LPGA or the PGA TOUR or the PGA of America work together to meet our own respective priorities, but with the best interests of the game overall at heart. But when someone attempts to buy the sport, dismantle the institutions that are intrinsically invested in its growth, and focus only on a personal priority, that partnership evaporates, and instead we end up with one person, one entity, using endless amounts of money to direct employees, not members or partners, toward their personal goal, which may or may not change tomorrow or the next day.

“I doubt that's the vision any of us have for the game. Now, I know legacy and purpose sound like talking points that don't mean much, but when I talk of those concepts, it isn't about some sort of intangible moral high ground. It is our track record as an organisation and as a sport.

“On the PGA Tour, our members compete for the opportunity to add their names to history books, and, yes, significant financial benefits, without having to wrestle with any sort of moral ambiguity. And pure competition creates relevancy and context, which is what fans need and expect in order to invest their time in a sport and in a player. That's the beauty of the PGA Tour. We have and always will provide a global platform for members to compete against the very best, earn their stardom, and become household names.”

Comparing the gauntlet thrown down by LIV Golf to the challenge presented by the pandemic two years ago, Monahan said he is confident the PGA Tour will come through it.

“I choose to echo that same refrain,” he said. “As I said to our members yesterday in a player meeting, we will ultimately come out of the current challenge stronger because of our loyalty and support of our players and fans, the best in the world, as well as our planned future growth.”

Monahan was giving a press conference in which he confirmed the big jump in prize money for eight events next year announced earlier this week in response to the threat from LIV Golf. Charl Schwartzel won the first LIV Golf event at Centurion Club for $4.75million earlier this month. He will be joined by recent signings Brooks Koepka, Abraham Ancer, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed in the field for the second event, which takes place at Pumpkin Ridge in Oregon starting on June 30th

Jeff Kimber
Jeff Kimber

Jeff graduated from Leeds University in Business Studies and Media in 1996 and did a post grad in journalism at Sheffield College in 1997. His first jobs were on Slam Dunk (basketball) and Football Monthly magazines, and he's worked for the Sunday Times, Press Association and ESPN. He has faced golfing greats Sam Torrance and Sergio Garcia, but on the poker felt rather than the golf course. Jeff's favourite course played is Sandy Lane in Barbados, which went far better than when he played Matfen Hall in Northumberland, where he crashed the buggy on the way to the 1st tee!