Tiger Woods should be the next commissioner of the PGA Tour

The PGA Tour and Saudi-funded LIV Golf continue to throw money around to try to ensure the presence of top players in their events. PGA Tour sponsors are not at all happy with the watered-down fields they are paying for each week.

The television networks are equally unhappy. Other than the four major championships, there’s no Phil Mickelson or Dustin Johnson, no Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia or Bryson DeChambeau playing in any week-to-week PGA Tour events.

On the flip side, LIV still has no TV contract with a major network. It always will have the fact that it is a blatant example of sportswashing hanging over its head. And it’s tough to take seriously, with its 54-hole tournaments that have no cut and announcers trying to sell the notion of team play.

Seriously? Wake me when the Ryder Cup begins.

So what is the next step for the PGA Tour?

Easy. It needs a new commissioner. This is not meant to be an attack on the current commissioner, Jay Monahan, who is charming and smart and a great salesman. In normal times, he would be a perfectly adequate commissioner. But these haven’t been normal times for several years now.

Monahan was slow to react to the looming threat of LIV. He tried to play the morality card, not understanding most of his players and most golf fans and sponsors could not care less if the Saudi money is blood money as long as the checks cash.

Monahan also attempted to play the money card, starting with the ludicrous “Player Impact Program,” which paid players based on their popularity. The first winner was Tiger Woods, who played in zero tournaments in 2021 but was still the most popular golfer by leaps and bounds. The runner-up was Mickelson, who was so impressed with his $6 million bonus that he was the first important player to jump to LIV.

Throwing good money after bad, the tour upped the PIP bonus pool to $100 million in 2022. Woods, after playing in three official events, won again — and if truth be told, he would keep winning until 2122 if the measurements were taken properly. Mickelson wasn’t in the top 20 that year because he ceased to exist after signing with LIV.

Finally, after Woods and Rory McIlroy had been the tour’s biggest defenders, Monahan went behind their backs and cut a deal with the Saudis, although the details still have not been finalized eight months later.

That should have been the last straw for the tour’s policy board. As one player put it, “Jay’s been playing checkers; the Saudis have been playing chess.”

Firing Monahan because of his mistakes might feel satisfying to some, but it would do nothing to solve golf’s problems. And hiring another businessman, politician or corporate CEO wouldn’t change much, if anything.

The tour must think out of the box — way out of the box — and hire someone who really knows golf, who has been a successful businessman and who has the clout to look the Saudis in the eye across the negotiating table.

There is one person who fits that…

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Read More: Tiger Woods should be the next commissioner of the PGA Tour 2024-02-24 13:15:00

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