‘Walk Out That Door Now’ - Monahan On Saudi League Defectors

The PGA Tour commissioner is in no mood to compromise over player loyalty

Jay Monahan speaks to the press at the 2019 Players Championship
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Yesterday’s drama wasn’t restricted to Phil Mickelson’s apologetic statement on his recent remarks about the PGA Tour and reported Saudi Super League. On the latter issue, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan had some thoughts of his own aimed at any player wishing to leave the Tour for the promise of riches in the Middle East. At a mandatory players’ meeting held ahead of this week’s Honda Classic, Monahan apparently didn’t hold back on the subject. 

One of the players in attendance, who requested anonymity, told the Golf Channel: “[Monahan] made it clear right off the top that if you’re going to play [the Super League], walk out that door now. He made the ban seem like it was in all capital letters.” Meanwhile, another stated that Monahan said anyone thinking of joining the reported league was detrimental to the Tour and would be “banned.”

The momentum that appeared to be building behind the rumoured league seemed to lose much of its lustre last week when several players distanced themselves from the idea. Bryson DeChambeau announced on social media that he’d stay loyal to the PGA Tour as long as it had the world’s best players. That comment came despite the big-hitting American reportedly being lined up as the rumoured league’s poster boy only a few weeks ago. Similarly, Dustin Johnson declared himself fully committed to the PGA Tour. It appears those pledges have hardened Monahan’s stance on the issue, too, with him apparently telling the players he had changed his original speech because of them.

Mickelson’s statement caused a huge furore on its release yesterday. The 51-year-old has been one of the most vocal critics of the PGA Tour in recent weeks, and he acknowledged in the statement that he had worked with LIV Golf Investments, thought to be behind the alleged league. However, despite the statement’s release coming just minutes before yesterday’s meeting, it’s not believed to have influenced its events. Nevertheless, with Mickelson’s backtracking and those words of loyalty from the likes of DeChambeau and Johnson, momentum appears to be swinging back towards the PGA Tour – a fact clearly not lost on Monahan.  

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.