PGA Tour 'glad' to welcome back commissioner Jay Monahan after anxiety-related leave

World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler (pictured) said players are "glad" PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan returned to his role. File Photo by Mike Goulding/UPI
1 of 5 | World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler (pictured) said players are "glad" PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan returned to his role. File Photo by Mike Goulding/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Players are "glad" PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan returned from his anxiety-related hiatus, but think the U.S. based league has a "long way to go" amid professional golf's rift, Scottie Scheffler told reporters.

Scheffler made the comments at a news conference at the St. Jude Championship on Wednesday at TPC Southwind. More than two dozen PGA Tour players held a meeting with Monahan on Tuesday in Memphis.


"I don't think anybody knows what he's been dealing with at home," Scheffler said. "As a person, we are just glad to see him back out here doing what he loves to do. Hopefully he'll be doing that for a long time."

Monahan also spoke to reporters Wednesday about the specifics of his hiatus. The Tour announced his medical leave in June, but did not elaborate on his condition or the length of the break. He returned to the role July 17.


"I think the reality for me was that I was dealing with anxiety, which created physical and mental health issues and challenges for me," Monahan said. "I needed to step away and to deal with that and understand how to develop the skills to deal with that going forward."

LIV Golf and the PGA Tour announced their decision to unite about a week before the announcement of Monahan's leave. The planned alliance potentially ends two years of legal battles, player feuds, suspensions and defections from the longtime U.S.-based golf league to the upstart, Saudi-backed venture.

"To step away at that point in time was very difficult for me, but I needed to take care of myself and my family, and ultimately come back here stronger than I've ever been to lead the PGA Tour forward," Monahan said. "And my family and my doctors supported me coming back."

Monahan admitted that he regretting not informing players about the planned alliance between the Tour, DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which operates LIV Golf.

"I take full accountability for that," Monahan said. "At the same time, I apologize for putting players on their back foot, but ultimately the move that we made is the right move for the PGA Tour. I firmly believe that. And as we go forward, time will bear that out."


A framework agreement shows that the parties signed a document to merge forces on May 30. The union resulted in harsh Tour player criticism directed at Monahan, who previously criticized LIV Golf and suspended players who defected to join the rival league.

The Tour responded to the rift by making changes to its schedule, prize purses and more. The Tour also appointed Tiger Woods to its policy board. That move resulted in player directors now outnumbering independent directors on votes for future league matters, including the proposed union with LIV Golf.

Scheffler said Tuesday's meeting resulted in more transparency between players and Monahan.

"I went to the players meeting and a realized I haven't seen Jay in quite a bit of time," Scheffler said Wednesday. "It's definitely good to have him back. I think the Tour's got a long way to go, but it's always nice having Jay back in person.

"Guys, when they want to, can have face-to-face time with him. He is always available. He is doing the best he can to make sure he is getting as much player input as possible."


Golfer Jon Rahm also told reporters this week that he didn't think it was the right time to make a change in Tour leadership, when asked about Monahan. He also credited the commissioner for his leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I think he should have the opportunity now to finish off the way he did," Rahm said. "I think we are quickly forgetting how well he managed a lot of things. ... We should give him the chance to see this through. Then after everything is said and done, if players want to make a change, then that would be a better time. Right now, I don't think it is."

The Spaniard said his "priorities" for changes on the Tour are "lower" than what people think. Rahm cited necessity for porta-potties on every hole and amenity improvements for the players.

Scheffler cited clarity on the framework agreement and additional dialogue between executives and players, when asked about what players now desire from the Tour.

Fellow golf star Rory McIlroy said Wednesday that Woods was a "great addition" to the board because he likely has "more time on his hands" than other active player directors.


"[Woods is] the player over the last 20 years who has left the biggest legacy on the game," McIlroy said. "For him to be involved in discussions about future of professional golf and what that may look like is very important."

Last month, representatives from the Tour defended its proposed alliance with LIV Golf in testimony before the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Tour Chief Operating officer Ron Price and board member Jimmy Dunne offered the sworn testimony.

Dunne said the framework agreement ended legal battles between the Tour and LIV Golf, but insisted that there is not yet a "definitive" pact as negotiations continue.

As those talks extend, so does a Department of Justice investigation into the Tour for anti-competitive behavior in connection to LIV Golf. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., chairman of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, also announced another investigation into the PGA Tour-LIV Golf agreement in June.

LIV Golf players remain suspended from the Tour, but the framework agreement stated they will be considered for returns after the 2023 season.

On Wednesday at LIV Golf Bedminster, Sergio Garcia told reporters that he likely would not return to the Tour, even if his suspension is lifted. Garcia cited LIV Golf's less intense playing schedule as the reason behind that motive.


That comment came in response to a tweet by fellow LIV Golf competitor Phil Mickelson, who claimed that "not a single player on LIV wants to play" on the Tour.

"I think around here, everyone is very happy and comfortable with where they are," Garcia said Wednesday.

LIV Golf Bedminster will tee off Friday and run through Sunday at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in Bedminster, N.J.

The St. Judge Championship, the first leg of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs, teed off Thursday and will run through Sunday at TPC Southwind in Memphis.

Latest Headlines