PGA Tour commissioner Guy Monahan, who went on medical leave last month as he and his organization faced anger over a planned alliance with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, is expected to return to his post on July 17.
Although Monahan, commissioner since 2017, did not detail his condition in a brief note to the Tour’s governing body on Friday, he noted that recent years have been “exhausting for all of us” and that he “has experienced these losses personally in the following days.” about our FCFA and experienced negative effects on my health.”
He said his health has “improved dramatically” since he went on leave on June 13. But the timetable provided by Monahan for his return means he will miss, by six days, a Senate hearing in Washington to discuss the tentative deal with the wealth fund.
When Monahan’s future was publicly uncertain, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations agreed to allow two more witnesses to represent the tour: Chief Operating Officer, Ron Price, and Board member, James J. that led to the agreement.
According to two people familiar with the discussions, who asked not to be identified to discuss private negotiations, the round suggested to the committee in recent days that Monahan consider testifying if the Senate agreed to adjourn the hearing. The committee declined, opting to go ahead with its plans on Tuesday.
Monahan isn’t the only golf dignitary who will be absent on Tuesday. Yasser Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the wealth fund and one of the leading forces behind the LIV golf circuit, which has led to the PGA Tour breakout, refused to come to the session, citing a scheduling conflict. LIV commissioner Greg Norman said he was unavailable on Tuesday.
The senators said they may question Alrumayan and Norman at a later date, a possibility the subcommittee left open to Monahan after Friday night’s announcement.
“We are pleased to hear that Mr. Monahan has recovered and look forward to following up with him on any remaining questions after Tuesday’s hearing,” said Maria McElwain, a spokeswoman for Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and the subcommittee chair.
“We are excited and excited to speak with Mr. Price and Mr. Dunn on Tuesday,” McElwain added. “Both are in a position to share important information, and we look forward to a robust and revealing discussion.”
Price and another senior tour executive, Tyler Dennis, have overseen the day-to-day operations of the tour since June 13, when Monahan and the board issued a short statement saying the commissioner was “recovering from a medical condition.” In the weeks that followed, tour officials repeatedly refused to describe Monahan’s condition or the circumstances that led to his abdication in one of the most turbulent moments in professional golf.
By the time Monahan left, he had absorbed days of intense criticism over the deal with the wealth fund, whose money he had previously tainted on his tour as tainted, a shift he acknowledged would prompt accusations of hypocrisy.
The final details of the alliance have yet to be negotiated, but the outline of the tentative deal calls for the PGA Tour, Wealth Fund and DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour, to bring their golf business into a new, for-profit company. Tour executives argued that the deal, if closed, would allow the Florida-based circuit to control the sport because Monahan would be the company’s new CEO and the tour would control a majority of the board seats.
But Al-Rumayyan will be the company’s new president. Moreover, it is expected that the wealth fund will have extensive investment rights in the new company, which promises the Saudis great influence.
Prior to June 6, when the deal involving the tour and wealth fund was announced, Monahan was among the harshest critics of Saudi Arabia’s foray into professional golf.
“The PGA Tour, which is an American institution, cannot compete with foreign ownership that spends billions of dollars trying to buy golf,” Monahan said in June 2022. “We welcome good, healthy competition. The Saudi Golf League is not. It’s an irrational threat. It doesn’t care about return on investment.” Or the real growth of the game.”
Last month, hours after he sat down next to Al-Rumayyan for a TV interview, he adopted a very different tone, in part because the tour leaders had effectively concluded their battle with the wealth fund was not sustainable.
“I know people will call me a hypocrite,” Monahan said last month. “Anytime I said anything, I said it with the information I had at that moment, and I said it based on someone trying to compete on the PGA Tour and our players. I accept those criticisms. But circumstances change.”
He insisted that the deal would allow the round to work with the wealth fund in a “constructive and productive way”.
The criticism spread anyway.