Monahan: Players loyal to PGA TOUR 'will be rewarded'
PGA TOUR commissioner Jay Monahan did his best Wednesday to pour cold water on the notion that players who left for LIV Golf made the right choice, saying the golfers who stayed on TOUR will get compensation.
"Their loyalty will be rewarded," Monahan said during an appearance on "Golf Today." "I'm going to spend every single waking hour as we move forward here, we finalize this agreement, and we move into the future, that the players that have created the PGA TOUR, have created this pro-competitive, legacy-driven juggernaut, that have articulated and supported the direction that we're going on - ultimately the decision we made, I believe, is going to make it better for all our players, and loyalty, ultimately, as a leader, always needs to be rewarded."
The immediate response by many to the stunning deal the PGA TOUR made with the Saudi Public Investment Fund was that the superstar players who didn't make the jump for massive money got the short end of the stick.
Phil Mickelson, Cam Smith, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, and Brooks Koepka are among the notable names to collect huge payouts for leaving the PGA TOUR and joining LIV Golf over the past year. The Saudi-backed league certainly approached Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, and other top players with huge offers to jump ship, but they opted to remain where they stood.
Monahan added Wednesday that he didn't know the specifics of how those loyal players will be rewarded. But judging by the early reaction, the commissioner has plenty of work to do to build trust among the players.
TOUR winner and broadcaster Johnson Wagner said that a number of golfers in Tuesday's meeting with Monahan questioned his standing as commissioner, according to ESPN's Mark Schlabach.
"There were many moments where certain players were calling for new leadership of the PGA TOUR and even got a couple standing ovations," Wagner said.
During his press conference Wednesday at the Canadian Open, McIlroy backed Monahan for making the deal. However, he said the news has weighed on him after being such a staunch TOUR supporter over the last year.
"It's hard for me to not sit up here and feel somewhat like a sacrificial lamb and feeling like I've put myself out there, and this is what happens," the World No. 3 said. "Again, removing myself from the situation, I see how this is better for the game of golf. There's no denying that. But for me as an individual, yeah, there's just going to have to be conversations that are had."
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