In his first interview since suspending 17 players for competing in the rival LIV Golf Invitational Series, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan defended the punishment in an interview with CBS Sports during the final round of the RBC Canadian Open on Sunday. .
Six-time major champion Phil Mickelson, two-time major winner Dustin Johnson and longtime PGA Tour members Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Louis Oosthuizen and Kevin Na are among those no longer eligible to compete in Tour events. after playing in the inaugural LIV Golf tournament in London last week.
“It was an unfortunate week that was created by unfortunate decisions, those decisions being players who chose to violate our tournament rules,” Monahan said. “It’s my job to protect, defend and celebrate our loyal PGA Tour members, partners and fans. And that’s exactly what I did. And I don’t think it came as a surprise to anyone, given how clear I had been about how we were going to handle this situation.”
Rory McIlroy, who won the Canadian Open by 2 strokes over Tony Finau, couldn’t resist throwing a subtle jab at LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman during a press conference on Sunday.
It was McIlroy’s 21st PGA Tour victory. “And one more than Norman,” McIlroy told a host.
“I think going up against the best and beating the best always makes it extra special,” McIlroy said. “And then look, I hinted at it, I had extra motivation for what was happening across the pond. The guy running this tour has 20 PGA Tour wins and I I was tied with him, and I wanted to get a head start from him. And I did. So that was really cool for me, just a little bit of pride on that one.
The next LIV golf tournament will be played in the United States, at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Portland, Oregon, from June 30 to July 2. LIV Golf announced this weekend that it has added former US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, former Masters winner Patrick Reed and Pat Perez to its roster. They have to compete in Portland.
Monahan said players who participate in future LIV Golf events will face the same penalty as the 17 players who were suspended last week.
When Monahan was asked why players couldn’t compete on both the PGA Tour and the LIV Golf Tour, he didn’t back down from his previous stance that players had to choose a tour or the other.
“Why do they need us so much? Monahan said. “Because these players chose to sign lucrative multi-year contracts to play in a series of exhibition matches against the same players over and over again. You’re looking at that compared to what we’re seeing here today and that’s why they need us so badly. You have The best players in the world are here at the RBC Canadian Open, with millions of fans watching, and in this game it’s the real, pure competition that creates the profile. of the greatest players in the world.
“And that’s why they need us. That’s what we do. But we’re not going to allow players to enjoy our loyal members, the best players in the world, for free.”
Monahan was also asked about players criticized for competing in a circuit funded by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. Survivors and family members of victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks have criticized actors who downplay the Saudi monarchy’s history of civil rights abuses.
“That’s probably a problem for the players who chose to go and take that money,” Monahan said. “And I think you have to ask yourself, why is this group spending so much money, billions of dollars, recruiting players and pursuing a concept with no possibility of return? At the same time, there’s been a lot of questions, a lot of comments about the growth of the game. And I asked, what’s good for the game that we love?
“I’ve spoken to players. I’ve had a players’ meeting and I’ve spoken to a number of players individually over a long period of time. And I think you’d have to live under a rock not to know that. “There are significant implications. And I would ask any player who has left or any player who is considering leaving, have you ever had to apologize for being a PGA Tour member?”