Monahan's players meeting draws low attendance, few details on Saudi deal
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan had his first meeting with players Tuesday afternoon since his return to work, offering few details on the surprise agreement with the Saudi backer of LIV Golf that two players said still involve several moving parts.
The meeting was lacking in details and attendance, with only 25 players attending in the clubhouse at the TPC Southwind.
Rory McIlroy returned from a workout — his shirt was drenched in sweat — and walked into the clubhouse a few minutes before it ended. Patrick Cantlay also did not attend. Both are PGA Tour board members and have had been on previous calls.
Monahan had what he described as an intense meeting on June 6 in Canada, the day players discovered he had negotiated an agreement with the Public Investment Fund with only two board members involved. The agreement led to immediate dismissal of all lawsuits.
A week later, Monahan took a leave for a medical situation. He returned July 17.
“There’s still a whole lot that no one really knows, and we don’t know," Rickie Fowler said. "It’s just continuing to trust that leadership and everyone is doing what’s best for all of us and the tour moving forward. Some of that was talked about in calls before this. There really wasn’t that many guys in the meeting, or less than I thought there would have been.”
Tom Hoge said it was his ninth year going to player meetings and “not a lot comes from it.”
"It was good just to have Jay there in front of us, see him again and see that he’s doing well,” he said. “Who knows what the path is going forward? I’ll guess we’ll just wait and see.”
When asked if there a feeling the deal might not get done, Hoge described that as a “very real possibility.”
“There's a lot of moving parts that have to come together for it,” Hoge said.
The framework agreement requires a deal to be finalized by Dec. 31, though both sides can agree to extend discussions.
Among the proposals is for Monahan to be CEO of a new for-profit company in which PIF, the PGA Tour and European tour pool commercial business and rights. Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the PIF governor, would be chairman of the new company. He also would join the PGA Tour board.
Monahan last week responded to demands from 41 players that players on the board can approve or decline any potential changes to the tour as part of the Saudi agreement, and that no major decisions can be made without involvement and approval of players on the board.
Tiger Woods joined the board, giving the players six votes, compared to four votes a year ago.
Fowler said questions included what would happen if the deal wasn't finalized, whether other investors were interested and how sustainable the tour was.
“There are a lot of parts that have to come together,” he said. "You obviously have to get a majority, if not unanimous, as far as board and player support. Yes, there are a lot of things that have to come together for this to happen, and I would say that you’d have to sell everyone on that this is the best option for the tour, for the players, for everyone moving forward. I’m not saying that’s not possible.”
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