Several notable pro golfers have spoken out of what they believe has been a lack of transparency from the PGA Tour about the agreement to merge with the DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund-backed LIV Golf.
The angst about the deal even spread to the Tour’s senior circuit, with 19-time PGA Tour winner Ernie Els recently criticizing Commissioner Jay Monahan.
“The commissioner is supposed to be the guy running our tour. These board members make a deal or a so-called deal and with no input from the players. It’s absolute shambles. I’m worried,” Els said.
In response to ongoing concerns from players, PGA Tour added Tiger Woods to its policy board and made notable changes to its governance structure on Tuesday.
Woods will become a sixth player director. Last year the PGA Tour had a total of four players on its board.
Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm were among the more than 40 players who sent a letter to the PGA Tour earlier this week demanding an increase in player involvement in major decisions.
The PGA Tour released a statement saying the player directors and Monahan will rework the influential policy board’s governing documents in an effort to make sure “no major decision can be made in the future without the prior involvement and approval” from the player directors.
“Player leaders joined together to uphold the Tour’s core principles and ask that certain steps be taken immediately, and Monahan has agreed to support the players and their requests,” the statement read.
In addition, special adviser Colin Neville, “will be fully aware of the state of the negotiations contemplated” per the agreement, “and, as such, Neville will be provided with full access to any documents or information that he requests as being necessary for him to carry out his duties on behalf of the players.”
During a session with reporters on Tuesday at the Wyndham Championship, No. 26-ranked golfer Justin Thomas said the move was a significant step forward.
“I think it’s important. I think it’s very obvious that a pretty good amount of us were frustrated and taken back with how some things took place. You know, we were just kind of put in a funky or tough position with how stuff was handled in the past,” he said.
“We want to have a say of what’s going on because, you know, it is our tour as well, and how it’s structured and how it looks is important to us. So we would like to have a little bit of a say-so on how that looks.”
Woods released a statement in which he expressed his support for Monahan.
“I am honored to represent the players of the PGA Tour,” Woods said in a statement. “This is a critical point for the Tour, and the players will do their best to make certain that any changes that are made in Tour operations are in the best interest of all Tour stakeholders, including fans, sponsors and players.
“The players thank Commissioner [Jay] Monahan for agreeing to address our concerns, and we look forward to being at the table with him to make the right decisions for the future of the game that we all love. He has my confidence moving forward with these changes.”
Player directors Patrick Cantlay, Charley Hoffman, Peter Malnati, McIlroy and Webb Simpson are also members of the policy board. They will be tasked with granting final approval to the agreement the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and PIF.
A week after the PGA Tour’s landmark announcement, Monahan took a leave of absence, citing medical concerns. He resumed his duties on July 17. He released a statement vowing to work to rebuild trust.
“Tiger’s voice and leadership throughout his career have contributed immeasurably to the success of the PGA Tour, and to apply both to our governance and go-forward plan at this crucial time is even more welcomed and impactful,” Monahan said in a statement. “I am committed to taking the necessary steps to restore any lost trust or confidence that occurred as a result of the surprise announcement of our framework agreement.”