CHARLOTT, North Carolina — Jay Monahan has never faced a more tumultuous time as PGA Tour commissioner.

More than two dozen PGA Tour competitors have moved to the LIV Golf course, which is run by two-time Open Championship winner Greg Norman and funded by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund.

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The PGA Tour is currently facing a federal antitrust lawsuit from LIV Golf and three of its players, alleging that it illegally suspended them from competing in LIV Golf and is using its monopoly power to squash the competition. The US Department of Justice has also launched an investigation into allegations that the PGA Tour is a monopoly.

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The PGA Tour has responded to the threat by raising their purses for 12 elevated events that will have a $20 million average purse, along with a $25 million players’ championship. The top players on the tour have pledged to take part in 20 tournaments starting this season.

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Monahan gave an exclusive interview to Sportzshala before the Presidents’ Cup last week at Quail Hollow.

Some players say the tour and LIV should go together. What is your opinion?

Monahan: Well, I think words and actions are important. I don’t think it makes sense given the fact that some players have sued the PGA Tour, their employer has sued the PGA Tour. It’s not in the cards. It was not in the cards and is not in the cards. I think we’ve been pretty consistent on that front.

Can PGA Tour and LIV Golf Coexist?

Monahan: I would give the same answer. The answer to that question is that they went their own way and I think we are going our own way pretty consistently and I don’t see that happening. No, and I don’t know.

Where do you think men’s professional golf will go in terms of the health of the sport?

Monahan: Well, I can talk about the PGA tour and the changes we’ve made. You go back to the last couple of years, and as we entered year 22, we entered a new cycle of domestic rights. We were in a new rights cycle internationally with great media partners. And the way our business works, we get our income from media rights, sponsorships, and how we work in each market with our host organizations. And we looked at our schedule, we made structural changes to our schedule.

We’re allied with DP World Tour, working more closely than ever before. I’m sitting on the DP World Tour board. You look at the composition of our membership and the global nature of our membership, I think we’ll just continue to build on the changes that we’ve made.

Some of these changes are elevated events, the concentration of our schedule, the maximum reinforcement of our product, the platform we provide to our members. And it’s not just in the media, in our television broadcasting. Check it out today on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram – we generate over 100 million video views every week and make sure we continue to provide not only the strongest competitive platform, but also the strongest brand platform. for our players, given the values ​​we stand for as an organization, the impact we make. We’re going to focus on what we control and just keep getting better and stronger at it.

What do you think of LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman’s recent visit to Capitol Hill?

Monahan: We went to Capitol Hill a few times a year long before I got on the PGA Tour, and I didn’t and don’t really care. If you go back to July 2, 1974 when the PGA Tour was granted [nonprofit] status is something we are very proud of. If you look back from that moment, we have raised over $3.3 billion for charity and we have promoted the values ​​of the game, the competitive spirit of the game and every constituency, every market here on all of our tours has benefited from it. [nonprofit] status. We feel very strongly and take this responsibility very seriously.

So anyone who wants to attack him, we’re very excited to tell our story, and not just our story today, but the ongoing incredible work we’re going to do to benefit people and communities in the future.

What do you tell players to convince them to stay on the PGA Tour?

Monahan: I focus on where we are and where we are going. And I’ll focus on two things: what are your opportunities in terms of income on the PGA tour, [and] in terms of competition on the PGA Tour, because ultimately what I say to someone depends on their goal. What do you want to achieve? This is where it all starts. And then you answer it. For me, if you want to reach the highest level in the game and win the biggest championships in the game, then we have an incredible story to tell on that front.

And then you really talk about the model and make sure the player fully understands what it means to have your independence, to be able to choose your schedule, to be able to define the companies and people you want to partner with. c, and think about how your life will unfold as a PGA Tour competitor.

You can be a young player today. You can get married in the future and have kids, and as you become a superstar and more responsibility comes in, that’s a really important element of what it takes to achieve at the highest level. This is something that has been constant on the PGA Tour and is a really important element of success here.

I’m also quick to say: make sure you talk to other people. I only have one vote, and of course I’m honored to lead this organization, but I think that when you make that choice, you need to know exactly what you’re getting into. And so I try to put that confidence on our side and make sure the players understand that when they think about anything that could change.

What do you think of the Tiger meeting in Wilmington, Delaware ahead of the BMW championship in August?

Monahan: It was a meeting between Tiger and Rory, and nothing made me more proud because we fought here for a long period of time, and this meeting was the culmination of many discussions and exchanges of ideas over the past few months. When you take two icons of the game and they take on the responsibility of bringing the guys together and keep thinking about how to improve the PGA Tour, make it stronger and make commitments that never happened before, that was really important. moment. during. People talk about 1968 [when the tour spun off into an organization for professional players]people talk about when the PGA Tour was formed and people talk about 1994. [when the PGA Tour rebuffed Norman’s plans for a breakaway World Golf Tour]. And I think it was kind of that moment here.

In the end, for me, and I feel blue about it, but the competitive structure here and its fairness is very important. And that’s what these players are trying to protect. And so I understand that respect for history, respect for tradition, respect for it at the same time, figuring out how we can evolve in a way that actually improves on that is absolutely the right way to go. But for me it wasn’t. … It was part of the process, but it was a really important part of the process, if you know what I mean.

How important was Tiger’s leadership to the tour?

Monahan: This is extremely important. I have said it publicly and will continue to say it: you have won 82 times here, you have won 15 major championships, you are the host of the Genesis Invitational and look at his TGR Foundation. You look at the fact that every player is here, and you’ve been asking them a question, practically every player is here, and one of the reasons they’re here is because they idolized him and looked up to him. His presence on the course matches his voice or his presence off the course. So, not only do they look up to him, I think his peers look up to him as a leader, a leader on the golf course, but also a leader outside of it.

Again, a very important voice. So it has always been very important and always will be. I mean, I think you are looking at Mr. [Jack] Niklaus is here [at the Presidents Cup]. He will be at the first match of the Presidents’ Cup. He was the captain of four teams. He hosted the event in 2013 and Jack’s presence and voice continue to be an important part of this game. When Tiger is at this age, everything will be the same. This is the uniqueness of our sport.

I guess a lot of LIV was a change to the game, a novelty of it. What can you guys do? I mean, competitive golf is competitive golf, but what can you do to diversify fans or offer them something new and interesting?

Monahan: For me, change comes from two perspectives. Someone is a player, and someone is a fan. We talked about the changes that we are making to the competitive environment. We’re going to continue to build on that. And for me, it benefits the fan because he knows at the beginning of the year where the best players on the PGA Tour will play, and he knows that you will have more stars, more storylines, more breakthroughs as you go. through what is now a truncated season. I think we will create even more interest, especially when you look at the important moments in our game. And then, you look at the presentation of our product.

We’re on Sportzshala+ now, 4300 hours, over 50% of those people. [watching] under 35 years old. We invest in all of our platforms to help build the brand and profile of our players. We invest and collaborate on concepts such as Tomorrow Golf. [with Woods and McIlroy]which will certainly appeal to a younger audience and serve as a platform for innovation that will be an important part of what we will be doing over the next 10 years. What we started with will not be what we end up with. I think you will see a lot of progress on this…