Phil Mickelson blasts PGA Tour’s Jay Monahan as Tour-PIF deal deadline nears

Phil Mickelson walks on course during LIV GOLF event

Phil Mickelson at a LIV Golf event outside of Miami earlier this year.

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Six-time major champion Phil Mickelson is, famously, no longer a member of the PGA Tour. But that hasn’t stopped him from dropping his opinions on the Tour’s machinations and future whenever it suits him.

Tuesday night was the latest example of the pro who spurned the Tour trying to get his shots in at the Tour’s brass, in this case, the peak of the organization’s hierarchy chart: commissioner Jay Monahan.

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Unconfirmed rumors were flying around the social-mediasphere, alleging that Monahan would be relieved of his duties once the agreement between the Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund was finalized. (The Tour and PIF have a self-imposed Dec. 31 deadline to come to terms.)

After seeing the speculation on X (formerly Twitter), Mickelson chimed in, blaming Monahan for pro golf’s yearslong rift.

Mickelson, who helped launch LIV Golf, wrote that “golf is in this situation entirely because of [Monahan].”

Mickelson also claimed that Monahan was “losing trust with his players” and that “There’s no unity or path forward with [Monahan] involved in my opinion as well.”

This is not the first time Mickelson has publicly criticized Monahan. In March, he claimed that before he left the Tour he had put together a “$1 billion commitment from a current PGA Tour partner” to create a series of elevated events in which players would have equity, but that Monahan turned him down saying, according to Mickelson, “I don’t believe the league is going to happen so we won’t be doing that.”

Later that month, Mickelson added more details to the alleged deal he proposed to the Tour:

“For clarity’s sake, Endeavor didn’t try to invest 2 years ago, SilverLake did,” Mickelson wrote on X.

“Ari [Emanuel] and Endeavor were to run 8 elevated events and the players and SilverLake would own the new elevated events 50/50 in a separate entity. October 30, 2021 Ed Herlihy said the Tour would take a hostile view and shut this down if it’s not 100% owned by the PGA Tour.”

Mickelson wasn’t the only legendary golfer who offered a less-than-ringing endorsement of Monahan on Tuesday. In his press conference at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods shared his initial reaction to the framework agreement between the PGA Tour and PIF.

“I would say that my reaction was surprised as I’m sure a lot of the players were taken back by it, by what happened,” Woods said. “So quickly, without any input or any information about it, it was just thrown out there. I was very surprised that the process was what it was.”

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So surprised that he helped craft a long list of player demands, got his fellow pros to sign on and successfully forced the PGA Tour to install him on the PGA Tour Policy Board.

When asked directly about his confidence in Monahan as PGA Tour commissioner, Woods said, “I think Jay [Monahan] has been a part of the direction, he understands what happened prior to that can’t happen again and won’t happen again.”

Woods continued, “That was part of why I came on to the board is I did have faith in Jay and in what he could do going forward and what can’t happen again.”

While Mickelson is off for the rest of the year in terms of pro golf, Woods is not. Tiger makes his return from injury on Thursday at the Hero World Challenge.

Kevin Cunningham

Kevin Cunningham Editor

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