PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan reiterated that the Tour has the right to ban players who sign with rival organizations such as the proposed Saudi Golf League and is confident in the legal status the Tour should Greg Norman act on a threat to continue the Tour.
“The PGA Tour is moving forward,” he told The Players media center on Tuesday. “We have too much momentum and too much to accomplish to be constantly distracted by rumors of other golf leagues and their attempts to prevent our players, our partners and especially our fans from enjoying the Tour and the game we we all love so much.”
Norman is the leader of LIV Golf Investments, which is backed by the Saudi government to form a rival professional golf circuit. Phil Mickelson, who decided not to enter The Players this week for the first time since 2003, was the most high-profile player to express interest in joining the SGL.
“Our Tour rules and regulations were written by the players, for the players,” Monahan said. “They have been around for over 50 years. I have confidence in our rules and regulations, my ability to administer them.
Since Mickelson’s controversial comments three weeks ago and other statements complaining about the Tour’s financial structure and player compensation, every prominent player on the Tour has spoken out in favor of Monahan’s position.
“Our players have spoken,” he said. “They are 100% behind the PGA Tour.”
The future of the Hall of Fame
The World Golf Hall of Fame has been in St. Augustine for 24 years and on Wednesday it will induct the best player in the game during that time into Tiger Woodsand the former PGA Tour commissioner who presided over its opening in 1998, Tim Finchem.
However, the Hall of Fame and Museum, as well as the World Golf Village complex, have suffered financially since the COVID-19 pandemic – like most museums and halls of fame, regardless of what they exhibit – and Monahan would not commit to the current form of the institution beyond the end of its current lease with St. Johns County and the bond agreement with the State of Florida in 2023.
“We are committed to the World Golf Hall of Fame through 2023…we are reviewing all of our options as we move forward,” Monahan said. “The business of the Hall of Fame and the way people consume the Hall of Fame has changed and we just want to make sure that any decision we make about the next 25 years maximizes our ability to showcase the incredible careers and to impact every member of the Hall of Fame has had on our game.
Rumors have swirled around the future of the Hall of Fame since the World Golf Foundation went from one induction ceremony per year to one every two years, and removed it from the St. Augustine site, to travel to St. Andrews, Scotland from New York. and the pebble beach. Woods, Finchem, Susie Maxwell Berning and Marion Hollins will be inducted into the Global Home of the Tour.
PGA Tour Entertainment is moving from the World Golf Village to Ponte Vedra, a church now stands in the location once occupied by the PGA Tour Super Store, and the Hall of Fame has closed its putting green and snack bar.
According to a survey of 1,000 museum directors by the American Alliance of Museums, 75% said their revenues had dropped by an average of 40% during the pandemic and half said they had reduced their staff by almost a year. third. Only 44% said they planned to increase the size of staff as restrictions are lifted.
Saban’s advice on defense
Reigning Players Champion Justin Thomas recently received advice from the Alabama football coach Nick Saban on the art of defending a championship – something Saban has only done once with the Crimson Tide, in 2012.
Saban’s advice to Thomas, who golfed for Alabama: You don’t have to defend yourself – just go out and have fun.
“It’s so true,” Thomas said during a Tuesday press conference at The Players media center. “I have nothing to defend. I am not defending this title. The PGA Tour is not coming back and taking my 2021 Players Championship trophy after this week. It’s mine forever…my name will always be on that trophy. I’ll just try to win it again.
No one has ever defended The Players, although five have won it multiple times: Jack Nicklaus, Fred Couples, Steve Elkington, Davis Love III and Wood.
Thomas says the reason is simple: competition.
“It’s one of the deepest golf courses,” he said. “It’s hard to win golf tournaments and it’s really hard to win again.”
That said, Thomas said he was in a better position than last year when he entered the tournament. Thomas hasn’t won since The Players last year, but he finished the season with a pair of fourth-place finishes at the Northern Trust and the Tour Championship, went 2-1-1 at the Ryder Cup and has four top 10 this season.
Last year, when it came to the first round of players, Thomas was also carrying the burden of the death of his grandfather three months prior and the fallout from an insult he had directed at himself after missing a putt in Kapalua.
“My game is in a much better place,” he said. “I am much more confident. I’m in a better place mentally. I just feel a lot better about everything.
Young people served
At Scottie Scheffler’s Last week’s win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational propelled the FedEx Cup points list to No. 1 and created new momentum at the top of the World Golf Rankings.
Scheffler, 25, is now fifth in the world, meaning the top five players are all under 30 for the first time in the rankings’ history.
No. 1 Jon Rahm at 27, followed by Collin Morikawa (25), Victor Hovland (24), Patrick Canlay (29) and Scheffler. Scheffler was sixth in the world ahead of Bay Hill, meaning he’s the highest-ranked player to win the PGA Tour this season.
Scheffler also took the lead in the FedEx Cup points race.
Kevin Na pulled out of The Players on Monday afternoon to be with his wife during the birth of their third child. He was replaced in the field by Taylor Moore.
Na, ranked 29th in the world, has played in 13 players, with three top-10s. His last was a tie for sixth in 2015.
Moore, who played college golf at Arkansas, has a top 10 this season, a tie for eighth at the RSM Classic.
He joins the 12th rank Bryson De Chambeau retiring this week. DeChambeau informed the Tour on Sunday night that he would not play, citing wrist issues.
Their withdrawals still leave the players with 16 of the top 17 players in the world rankings after the conclusion of Sunday’s tournaments, 46 of the top 50, 59 of the top 70 and 79 of the top 100.
The lowest ranked player on the field is Brian Gay at No. 448.
RSM announces charity
The RSM Classic donated more than $5.5 million to the Davis Love Foundation at the tournament at the Sea Island Club on St. Simons Island, Georgia last November, bringing the 12-year total to nearly $29 million.
Recipients include Special Olympics and Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Georgia.
Event: The Players Championship, Thursday-Sunday, Stadium Class at TPC Sawgrass.
At stake: a purse of $20 million ($3.6 million and 600 FedEx Cup points to the winner).
Defending champion: Justin Thomas.
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 12 p.m.-6 p.m.); NBC (Saturday-Sunday, 1-6 p.m.).
Registered local players: Lanto Griffin, Brian Harman, Billy Horschel, Zach Johnson, Patton Kizzire, Russell Knox, Tyler McCumber, Keith Mitchell, JT Poston, Doc Redman, Sam Ryder, Cameron Smith, Hudson Swafford.
Notable: Thomas shot 68 to take advantage of Bryson DeChambeau and Lee Westwood meltdowns, and won his 14th PGA Tour title by one stroke over Westwood. … This is the 40th Players Championship played at the Stadium Course. Jerry Pate was the first winner in 1982. … The field includes 46 of the top 50 in the World Golf Rankings, missing only DeChambeau, Harris English, Kevin Na and Phil Mickelson.
Event: Honda LPGA Thailand, Thursday-Sunday, Siam Country Club, Chonburi, Thailand.
At stake: $1.6 million purse ($240,000 to the winner).
Defending Champion: Ariya Jutangarn.
TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 1am-3am; Saturday, 1.30am-3.30am; Sunday, 1.30am-4.30am).
Zone players registered: Marina Alex, Chella Choi, Mel Reid.
Notable: Jutangarn shot 63 in the final round and beat Atthaya Thitkul with one shot.