ATLANTA, GEORGIA | Six months ago at the Players Championship, commissioner Jay Monahan brought the PGA Tour to a sudden stop, the COVID-19 pandemic just beginning.
Six months later, Monahan sat with the media at the Tour Championship having brought the tour through a 13-week pause followed by a successful return to competition.
The tour is not close to being fully operational again but Monahan was optimistic as he looked toward the start of the 2020-21 season, which begins this week at the Safeway Open in Napa, California. In his pre-tournament news conference, Monahan addressed several issues.
On when fans might return:
“On the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Tour Champions, we have successfully reinstituted pro-ams,” he said, “and in a recent call with our Player Advisory Council have made the commitment to reinstitute pro-ams starting at Corales, Punta Cana. We will start there.
“We will be reintroducing programs, essentially Phase II of our five-phase return starting this fall. … Every tournament is starting to plan for multiple potential outcomes, and hopefully planning toward the return of what we know as normal, and that’s fans on-site.”
On whether he was surprised the tour did not have to pause again:
“I was confident that we had the right plan,” he said, “but I was uncertain as to whether or not, like everybody else, you’d be able to get to this point.
"I think that we would project it to generate at least $100 million for (social justice) causes over the next 10 years, and that’s something that we're going to hold ourselves accountable to."
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan
On the PGA Tour’s commitment to fighting social and racial injustice:
“When we pledged to be part of the solution, we also pledged to really dig into the foundation of our business,” Monahan said. “The way that we raise money, the way that we raise awareness is by engaging our community tournament organization.
“And so since we’ve started, (we have) kind of redoubled those efforts and really thought through the recent incidents and how we can make a bigger impact. We worked very closely with our Tournament Advisory Council led by Steve Wilmot, and all of our tournaments are going to be identifying racial and social injustice causes in their local markets going forward …
“As you look out over the next 10 years, I think that we would project it to generate at least $100 million for those causes over the next 10 years, and that’s something that we're going to hold ourselves accountable to.
“The money is one thing, but being engaged in the community and being part of the solution through the tournament host organizations is something that you’re going to see us make a lot of progress on.”
On the tour’s work with the First Tee, the Advocacy Professional Golfers Association and 100 Black Men, among other organizations:
“I’m just really proud of the way that our workforce, our people continue to get behind all of our equity and inclusion efforts.
“We’re not perfect, but we have a long way to go. I said we’d be part of the solution. These are just some of the things that we've identified that we can do right now, and I just think it’s important to – I think when you're here at East Lake and you think about 1995, we are perpetually doing good in every market where we play, and this is another opportunity to demonstrate that that’s what we can do, and we’re up to it.”
Ron Green Jr.