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The PGA Tour released a statement on Tuesday regarding chairmen Jay Monahan, noting that he is “recuperating from a medical situation.”
The rest of the statement read as follows:
“The [PGA Tour Policy Board] fully supports Jay and appreciates everyone respecting his privacy. During Jay’s absence, Ron Price, chief operating officer, and Tyler Dennis, executive vice president and president, PGA Tour, will lead the day-to-day operations of the PGA Tour with the assistance of the great team Jay has built, ensuring seamless continuity. We will provide further updates as appropriate.”
Monahan, 53, has served as the Tour’s commissioner since 2017, but found himself in the eye of a major storm after the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund-backed LIV Golf agreed to an alliance.
In the agreement, Monahan would serve as the new operation’s CEO, while PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan would be the chairman. The PGA Tour would remain its own entity, with Al-Rumayyan joining the Policy Board, but the Tour would hold the majority of the board seats.
Monahan wrote in a letter to U.S. senators that the arrangement was not a merger (h/t ESPN’s Mark Schlabach):
“After a divisive battle spanning two years including extensive ligation that divided our great sport, we have decided on an arrangement that will end the divisiveness and grow the sport of golf, while preserving the PGA Tour as the primary organizing entity for men’s professional tournament golf. Let me be clear that despite numerous reports, this arrangement is not a merger between the PGA Tour, LIV Golf, and the PIF.”
He also wrote to the senators that the PGA Tour was left on its “own to fend off the attacks, ostensibly due to the United States’ complex geopolitical alliance with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This left the very real prospect of another decade of expensive and distracting litigation and the PGA Tour’s long-term existence under threat.”
Three days later, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal announced that he and the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations was opening an investigation into the new entity, noting that the agreement “raises concerns about the Saudi government’s role in influencing this effort and the risks posed by a foreign government entity assuming control over a cherished American institution.”
Oliver Holt @OllieHolt22
I was particularly struck by that recollection of Monahan talking about families of 9/11 victims that he was close to and how they would feel about the defections of players to LIV. And now he does this. https://t.co/ywfKwXNNsH
Oliver Holt @OllieHolt22
Jay Monahan and the 9/11 families https://t.co/9CjdcLUoyG
Ed Werder @WerderEdESPN
“Mr. Monahan talked last summer about knowing people who lost loved ones on 9/11, then wondered aloud on national television whether LIV Golfers ever had to apologize for being a member of the PGA Tour. They do now – as does he,” said 9/11 Families United Chair Terry Strada. https://t.co/ogYkkSebpJ
Saudi Arabia’s growing influence in the world of sports—from LIV Golf to its ownership of English Premier League club Newcastle United, among other investments—has been accused of a sportswashing endeavor meant to gloss over the country’s history of human-rights violations.