home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 10, 2020

Jay Monahan

Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

LAURA NEAL: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to THE PLAYERS Championship. I'd like to introduce our PGA TOUR commissioner Jay Monahan for his annual state of THE PLAYERS Championship Press Conference. I know you have some opening remarks and then we will open it up to the media for Q & A.

JAY MONAHAN: Good morning, everybody, and I do have some opening remarks. It's great to be with you today as we kick off THE PLAYERS Championship 2020. We have more than 900 credentialed media with us this week, and we certainly appreciate what you do in covering our sport and the PGA TOUR throughout the year.

I'd like to start by taking a moment to reflect on the brilliant life of Pete Dye, who designed this golf course with his wife Alice and helped elevate this championship into global prominence. When he passed away on January 9th, golf lost a visionary, a legend and a creative force. Pete's designs always challenged a player, perhaps more than any architect in history, between the ears, and his courses always demand your best efforts on every single shot.

I encourage you to take in the various tributes to Pete around the golf course this week as we pay our respects to his World Golf Hall of Fame legacy. And as we recognize Pete, I'd like to recognize several individuals here with us today, who were instrumental in the birth and growth of TPC Sawgrass and THE PLAYERS Championship.

Former PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane Beman, former PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem, Vernon Kelly, former president of PGA TOUR golf course properties, Bobby Weed, neighbor, protege and lifelong friend of Pete and the inaugural winner here of THE PLAYERS at TPC here in 1982, Jerry Pate. I'm sure you'll enjoy speaking with them today about Pete Dye and what he meant to the game of golf and their own lives.

So in preparing for today's press conference, I went back and I looked at the 2017 transcript from the first time I spoke with you here at THE PLAYERS as commissioner. At that time I spoke a lot about the path to securing the TOUR's foundation for the future, and many of you had questions about the future of our media rights, the FedExCup, the schedule, the stature of THE PLAYERS, and yes, pace of play.

In revisiting these topics, I'd like to remind you about our business model. This is a player-led organization, and as a membership organization, it's a great honor and it's awesome to have our members here back at TPC Sawgrass.

Our players are entrepreneurs, and they inject that spirit into everything we do as a TOUR. Yes, they have independence, but they are also world-class athletes who have a desire to bring their talents to a growing global fan base and impact the communities in which we play. That's how we're able to modernize the PGA TOUR at every turn, because of that entrepreneurial partnership and culture we've built with our members. We listen, we respond, and we grow the reach of our TOUR.

Our players want and expect us to listen, to not only them but as importantly, to our fans. What do they want from the TOUR and how do we deliver world-class golf to them in new and different ways.

Look no further than some of the changes we've made in recent years: The schedule, the FedExCup structure, the TOUR Championship format, our Discovery global media partnership, the domestic rights agreements we announced yesterday, the launch of PGA TOUR Live, every shot live this week at THE PLAYERS, gaming opportunities and our emergence on that front. These past few years have been transformative for our TOUR, our players and our fans, and we are not slowing down.

It's clear to me that we have a winning formula. It's worked for our players, our sponsors, our fans, communities, media partners for 51 years. We're growing in virtually every metric, and it's not because that winning formula remains the same. We listen, and we respond. That allows us to broaden our reach internationally, allows us to diversify our fan base, allows us to provide new and innovative ways to reach our fans, and allows us to showcase our great athletes to the world.

I'd like to address just how much progress we've made on these items and more give you an idea of where we're headed.

In 2017 year at THE PLAYERS, I was asked about the future of media rights and how this would help us better deliver the PGA TOUR to our fans. Yesterday we were thrilled to announce that we will continue our long-standing broadcast partnerships with CBS and NBC and with The Golf Channel while establishing a new relationship with Disney and ESPN+.

These partnerships put us in a position to significantly increase player earnings, deliver more value to our tournaments and sponsors, and ultimately allow us to grow our charitable footprint. It also should be viewed as a major victory for our fans, based on the elevated commitment from all four partners to help us grow and innovate that content and its delivery.

At the end of the day, when you add in our Discovery/GolfTV partnership, we now have domestic and international media rights secured through 2030, with unquestioned industry leaders. On behalf of our players and our team, thank you to these partners in responding to the PGA TOUR's desire to evolve and innovate.

We're also pleased to successfully negotiate media rights for our strategic partner, the LPGA, through 2030. With this new rights agreement, the LPGA will continue as anchor programming on The Golf Channel and will also receive expanded exposure on CBS and NBC.

Right here at THE PLAYERS in 2017, we announced a 10-year extension with our largest partner FedEx as we headed into the second decade of our season-ending FedExCup Playoffs. With this long-term agreement in place, we were able to make significant improvements in 2019 to our schedule, the FedExCup Playoff structure and the TOUR Championship scoring all to create a more compelling and engaging product for our fans, both new and existing.

It also allowed us to prioritize securing long-term relationships with our partners. We currently have 18 sponsors in place with agreements of seven or more years, and we anticipate that number will grow as we move forward. For our members, these additions meant significant growth in total compensation, with bonus money doubling from $35 million to $70 million.

We're pleased with our progress but by no means are we finished. Our existing partnerships combined with our new domestic rights agreements will allow for significant growth in our members' earnings in the coming years, and deservedly so.

In 2017, I also outlined the many significant course and infrastructure changes to TPC Sawgrass already completed, and I detailed a multi-year plan of putting all the elements in place as we continue to elevate what is one of the most significant events in the world of golf. This plan included a continued growth in the purse, which we were pleased to announce at $15 million with $2.7 million awarded to our champion later this week.

THE PLAYERS Championship has the strongest field in golf, an iconic and fan-friendly venue in TPC Sawgrass that favors no particular style of player, evidenced by Rory McIlroy edging Jim Furyk by one stroke last year, and a finishing stretch that certainly ranks amongst the most exciting for fans.

Each year our PLAYERS Championship team led by executive director Jared Rice, TPC Sawgrass director of operations Jeff Plotts and the competitions pillar led by Mark Russell and Stephen Cox, continues to elevate this championship.

That elevation continues to positively affect lives in northeast Florida, evidenced by a record $9.3 record in charitable impact in 2019.

This impact is possible through the support from our players but also from our three proud partners: Optum, Morgan Stanley and Grant Thornton, and the more than 2,000 volunteers who work tirelessly throughout the year and as well as our incredible fans.

We have a fan-first mentality in everything we do as we strive to engage existing fans while creating a new and diverse group of PGA TOUR followers. Innovation through content and new ventures is a significant part of this process. This week at THE PLAYERS, every shot will be live-streamed on NBC Sports Gold to PGA TOUR Live subscribers, allowing fans to follow any player in the field for all four rounds. That's more than 32,000 shots over the course of the week, captured by more than 120 cameras throughout the course.

Our vision is to bring every shot and every PGA TOUR tournament live to our fans, and this is the first step in making that a reality.

Something else you'll see for the first time this week: The use of a drone-operated camera that will offer views of many of golf's most famous holes, giving fans a distinctly unique perspective on the action. I know NBC Sports legendary producer Tommy Roy will take full advantage of this technology, and our fans will be the beneficiaries.

Gaming: It certainly presents another significant opportunity to grow fan interest and engagement. With 21 states now having approved legalized gambling, we're ramping up engagement opportunities through our partnership with IMG Arena for data distribution globally, DraftKings for daily fantasy, DraftKings, by the way, is standing up a tiered products for PLAYERS the first time this week, and as well as our newest partner the Action Network through GolfBet, which serves to help educate and simulate the betting market throughout the U.S. and overseas.

You asked me in 2017 about pace of play and I appreciate you keeping me honest on this topic in 2018 and 2019, as well. While there was a lot of external discourse regarding pace of play during the FedExCup Playoffs last year, we had been in the process of reviewing this aspect of pace of play for the better part of 2019 and asking ourselves and our Player Advisory Council, is there a better way to do it.

We're very pleased with the additions to the policy that focus on the individual habits of players, aided by ShotLink technology, that will take effect at the RBC Heritage. Again, we listened and adapted. We think the policy will help keep the focus on our athletes and their incredible skill levels, and will present a better product for our fans, both onsite and on television.

Now, impacting lives in the communities in which we play and efforts to promote diversity, growth and health of the game, they are not side projects for us. They are part and parcel to our business, and we are committed to their success.

Charitable impact is part of the PGA TOUR's DNA and something we, our tournaments and our players take great pride in. To the tune of more than $203 million raised last year to more than 3,000 organizations. And in January we celebrated a $3 billion milestone thanks to the tournaments across our six tours.

On the participation front, the PGA TOUR has doubled down on its support of the First Tee, now in its 23rd year, as we continue to work towards ensuring those playing the game are a diverse and inclusive reflection of society. Our industry partners are doing the same with their own successful programs.

From a global perspective, we're at 93 international PGA TOUR members, from 28 countries and growing. We have highly successful PGA TOUR events in Asia, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda and the Dominican Republic, and our three international tours continue to flourish in Canada, China and Latin America. And building on the momentum of golf's return to the Olympic Games in 2016, we expect further international growth and interest with the playing of the Tokyo games this summer.

So with this winning formula, working in tandem with our players, we made a lot of progress in the last three years as we continue to build a more exciting product for our existing fans, and we're set up for success and growing and diversifying our fan base in the future. We will never stop pushing to improve all facets of our TOUR, but we're certainly proud of what we've accomplished.

Now, that was a lot more than you expected to hear from me, but I wanted to take this moment to share my thoughts in advance of answering any questions you have.

Q. Could you address further the -- some of the things that will be changing on a weekly or daily basis -- the impact of the coronavirus on the future schedule? Do you have any plans to assist other organizations with possibly moving their championships to TOUR venues?
JAY MONAHAN: Well, I think from our perspective, the way to look -- in asking that question, I would tell you that it started out as a task force. It's now essentially a business unit, where we have two leaders, Tom Hospel, our medical director, and Alison Keller, our chief administrative officer, who have organized a large team to fully understand the coronavirus and its implications on all facets of our business. I think it goes without saying that the health, safety, well being of our players, our fans, our tournaments, everybody that's involved in our ecosystem is of utmost importance.

So for us, we are relying heavily, as other leagues and sports and entertainment venues are, relying heavily on the World Health Organization, the CDC, but primarily given the fact that we're playing 175 tournaments over six tours, this really is about a market-to-market exercise and truly understanding what local public health officials, local government officials, what's happening on the ground through our tournament directors in every single market where we play.

Suffice it to say it's a very dynamic situation, but I'm really proud of the amount of effort and thought that's going into not only where we stand today but the commitment to continue to gain as much information as we can, and candidly the contingency plan for a lot of different scenarios, given that this is an unprecedented situation.

And as it relates to other tournaments and looking across our schedule, I would just say that we're working very closely with each of those organizations. They're part of the work that this team is undertaking, talking to those organizations every single day, on the same conference calls with various health organizations, and I think as it relates to any other tournaments and what other organizations are doing, I can't speak to it, you would have to speak to them, but at this point I think everybody is planning on moving forward full speed ahead, exercising their tournaments, but also keeping an open eye and an open mind to the information that's coming their way.

Q. So much chatter the first few months of the year have been on this Premier Golf League. I'm just curious how many of the top players have you spoken to, can you characterize the feedback you've gotten, and can you say one way or another if a player verbally pledges support of this new league, would they be no longer TOUR members immediately?
JAY MONAHAN: So three questions? Listen, I think it's my job and it's my responsibility to be talking to our players every single day, every single week. I do the best that I can. Being out at our tournaments and making myself accessible and listening and responding. That's what my predecessor did. That's what I do, and that's how I really -- that's my commitment as a leader of this organization.

And as it relates to the team golf concept, I certainly have talked to a number of our top players. I've talked to players across our membership, and as you recall, this is something that has been rumored for several years, so it hasn't just started of late, it's something that we've talked to our players about for several years.

If a player pledged -- you and I have a long history of hypotheticals and me not answering hypotheticals, but I would just tell you that we're encouraged by the response that our players have had in our discussions. I think that the value that we provide to our players, to our tournaments, to our fans, the news that we've just talked about, securing $12 billion in revenue through 2030, the strength and security and foundation of this TOUR has never been stronger, so that's what we're focused on. We're focused on the excellence that we want to continue to achieve with our players, and our commitment is always one to listen and to respond. That's a bridge we would cross when we get there, but going back to my earlier comments, this is a player-led organization, 51 years running. Our governance system has been driven by our players and our board, and we have regulations in place that allow us to protect the interests of our media partners, our sponsors and all of our constituents, and if we got to that point in time, we would take measures to vigilantly protect this business model.

Q. With the stuff that you've just announced obviously and the new TV deal and whatnot, how much do you feel like that strengthens you? You've talked about the fact that the PGL and the team golf thing has been around in the ether for the last few years, but it seems like it's gained momentum of late, and I wonder how much of a threat that has, for lack of a better word, that it has been to you guys, and to some degree how much does this new deal help you and guys like Rory coming out just the other day, what did that mean to you guys?
JAY MONAHAN: Well, listen, I think that it's flattering when any entity is looking at what's happening on the PGA TOUR and they see growth, they see momentum, they see a broadening reach to a larger fan base domestically and internationally, and it's no surprise that someone is coming to try and take a piece of that. That's the nature of business.

And so for us, I go back to the very point you're making, which is an astute one. When you think about free to air television, to have CBS and NBC, CBS covering 19 events through 2030 on average, NBC covering both of those partners, with a rotating commitment to cover the FedExCup Playoffs, when you have the home of golf 24/7 in the United States committing to the PGA TOUR, Korn Ferry, PGA TOUR Champions, LPGA Tour, and the great talent that sits at the Golf Channel making that commitment through 2030, and then when you add ESPN+ and the full support of the ESPN family, which when you step back and I talk of broadening our fan base, when you actually look at the numbers, the great reach that our current partners provide, with the addition of ESPN, you're talking about 50 million additional uniques that we're going to be reaching over the course of the year.

So we have the support and the commitment of those organizations through 2030, and we feel great about moving forward with them. And then to know, looking back, they happen on a one-off basis, our tournament extensions, but to have 18 tournaments with seven plus years, it gives the PGA TOUR an opportunity -- it gives us an opportunity to long-term plan. And coming back to our players and the original point I'm making, you look at the model of a player's independence and you think about what we've done here in the U.S. from a media rights standpoint, you think of what we've added with Discovery, the value of their platform in that independent model is also going to grow up significantly because we're going to be reaching a lot more people. So we feel really good about where we're going to go with purses, where we're going to go with the Wyndham Rewards Top 10, where we're going to go with the FedExCup, and our players have always had the opportunity to play for meaningful prize money and for meaningful consequence out here, and that's only going to continue to grow and will grow at a faster rate thanks to that great support that we have.

Q. Just going back to the earlier question about coronavirus, specifically is one of those organizations the PGA of America and a potential contingency of Sawgrass being able to host the PGA Championship should they have a need to move that event?
JAY MONAHAN: You know, I think -- I'll answer that question two ways. One, I've talked to Seth and Suzy a lot. Suzy is on our board. They are great partners. And like I said earlier, they are fully planning on proceeding with the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. But when you get in these extraordinary circumstances, you have to make yourself available to your partners, and you have to really work as closely together as you ever have to help each other get through this.

And so there is no plan at this point in time for the PGA Championship to be held here. It's going to be held at TPC Harding Park. But I would just pledge to you, as we've pledged to everybody else, that in all of our tournaments week to week that we've got to -- we've really got to listen and respond to the real information that we're receiving on the ground, and it's important for us to present a complete schedule, FedExCup schedule this year. And if we can do that, that's what we're going to do as good partners to the game.

Q. Have you spoken to Andy Gardner from the PGL?

Q. Is there room for another tour in the bigger sort of world tour picture?
JAY MONAHAN: Well, I think if -- listen, you look at the PGA TOUR and you look at what Keith Pelley and the European Tour have been able to accomplish, and you look at some of the other international tours, the professional game is performing at a very high level across the world.

We're about to get a lot stronger. We're going to continue to go strength to strength, and that's a question for you guys to answer. We need to stay focused on what it is that we can control. We think we've got a winning formula, or we know we have a winning formula, and that's something that we're now in a position to accentuate. We couldn't feel better about our position and our ability to get stronger in the decade ahead.

Q. When Rory came out and spoke publicly, and I believe was one of the first to speak out about the league, what was your reaction? What do you think it told you about him?
JAY MONAHAN: I would tell you that it just reminded us all of how thoughtful and thorough Rory McIlroy is. He's one of the top players in the world, and he had fully understood that model and what was being proposed, and he's lived this one.

I think his comments -- I wasn't surprised. I was certainly proud and pleased on that given day, and candidly, as I've talked to a lot of top players in my one-on-one conversations, I've heard a lot of the same. But I thought that was a moment of leadership, and that was a special time, special day.

Q. Scott Piercy made some news recently for some social media posts. What was your reaction?
JAY MONAHAN: My reaction was one of significant disappointment. You know, that post does not convey the values that we have as a TOUR, and certainly doesn't convey our interest in making certain that golf is inclusive for all, an inclusive sport for all, and the fact of the matter is that what -- that post itself is a violation of our policy. I'm not going to speak to the disciplinary action or the disciplinary side of this, but it's something that we take very seriously. He knows that. I think he at some point in time will address that, and the fact of the matter is that, again, it doesn't reflect who we are as an organization.

But when something like that happens, you need to use that as a teaching moment, and people need to get better and people need to understand the full consequence of something like that, and that's where our focus is on right now.

Q. Specifically to two weeks from now in Austin, as you know they've canceled a fairly big festival there the week prior. Where does that stand? Is there any chance that that event would not go on? Can you just update us on how you're looking at that?
JAY MONAHAN: I would say that right now, that's one of the tournaments that's on the focus list, given its proximity to where we sit right here. We are planning on -- we are fully planning on being in Austin, Texas, for the WGC Dell Match Play. We are working very closely with, on the ground, Jordan Uplegger, who is our executive director, meeting with the mayor, the mayor's staff, local public health officials, tied into our coronavirus task force. We feel like we have support to continue to move forward with the event, full support. But I would say, you used the word, any chance, or the expression, any chance. This thing is so dynamic that you just have to go hour-to-hour, day-to-day, but right now we've gotten -- we have every assurance that we'll be in Austin for the event.

And I also would add that -- you mentioned another event that was canceled, and when you see these cancellations, they happen for different factors and different reasons, some of which aren't applicable to us, and that's where, when you see that news, there was an immediate -- we started to get a number of phone calls from members of the media, from players, from our partners, and you step back and you actually look at the data, look at what's happening on the ground there, if your local public health officials feel confident that everybody can enter into a safe environment and that we're protecting the well-being of all folks on-site that we're going to move forward.

Q. Would you describe some of the ways specifically that the viewer experience will be enhanced over the next nine years?
JAY MONAHAN: Yes. So you started to see a little bit of it this week with every player, every shot live. But one of the elements to yesterday's announcement that I think is very important beyond the incredible commitment we have from those partners is that, when you look at the PGA TOUR today and you look at how global our sport is, our athletes are and the media interest is, by working -- by taking greater control of the compound, by adding more feeds than we currently have on PGA TOUR Live today in the future, being able to not only provide more content here in the U.S. but also use that content internationally off of GolfTV with our Discovery partnership is one thing that I would point to and one of the things that excites us about that announcement is it's not just, we're moving to ESPN+, but we're also creating more content that can serve our global fan base.

So that's one. And then when you look at that, I talked about how we've set up where we are from a gaming standpoint and the strength of the ShotLink technology, that we invest tens of millions of dollars in each year. Now to be able to use that data and to be able to apply that not only to our platforms but potentially in the way that we stream and the way that we think about presenting our sport, again, these new deals start in 2022, we're working with our current partners now on that, but I would expect us to have more specifics on that front as we go forward.

But I just think when you look at our sport and the fact that we cover 20 percent of the shots that are out here and there are over 30,000 in a given week and we've got more and more stars representing more and more countries, it's just a chance for us to be able to showcase them more, and with new technologies emerging, it's going to be easier to do it, and we're going to have the infrastructure in place to be able to do it.

But when you -- one of the things that we've really liked about where we are is there's a spirit of -- these aren't unique deals. There's a spirit of collaboration across the partners. There's a commitment to evolve and innovating, and then there's the complete lack of complacency about where we are and where we can go, just given all the opportunities with that set of partners.

Q. You made the comment, "doubling down on the First Tee." What does that mean?
JAY MONAHAN: The First Tee -- it's actually hard to double down because it was maxed out under Commissioner Finchem as leadership from a TOUR standpoint. The one thing that we looked at was our partners in the industry have their own unique programs, but the governance of the First Tee was tied to the World Golf Foundation.

And so you had all of the golf organizations that were governing the First Tee. I think it's fair to say that the TOUR was the majority, the lead partner in the First Tee. What we've done is to take the First Tee out of the World Golf Foundation, set up the PGA TOUR First Tee Foundation, and now the First Tee is essentially a business unit. Every employee at the PGA TOUR is responsible and accountable to help grow the First Tee. We took Greg McLaughlin, who did a wonderful job running PGA TOUR Champions, he's now running the First Tee. He's built a great team. We're going to be embarking on a significant capital campaign that comes off the back of identifying what we think we need to do to change the curriculum or upgrade the curriculum and refresh it, what we need to be more technology centric with this younger generation and how we produce our content and a number of other steps that we're going to take that we think will take the First Tee with additional resources, to the next level.

Q. I just wonder what you made of Rory's thoughtful argument last week that there were too many tournaments in professional golf. That, in his words, we'd reached saturation points and were in danger of exhausting the fans.
JAY MONAHAN: Well, we have a wonderful PGA TOUR FedExCup schedule with 49 events this year, and there really are very few weaknesses on our schedule. And when you look at our model and the fact that players are independent contractors, for us putting the best tournaments forward week-in and week-out, recognizing that in our sport players like to play in certain conditions, certain markets, like to sequence their schedule differently, a lot of factors that go into the schedule that we have, and we've got great commitments from the markets where we play, and that's what's gotten us to here.

But I think when you look at -- when players -- this is not the first time we've heard this. When you're in Player Advisory Council meetings, when we're in board meetings, we're constantly looking at how our schedule is performing. I talked a lot about where we are and where we're headed, and it's been reinforced by the marketplace, but I would say that because the schedule is so dynamic for our players, it's also as dynamic for us as leaders, and that's something that we'll continue to look at and say, what are the things that we can do to improve our schedule. But I would tell you, we feel really good about where we are today and the flexibility we have going forward.

Q. Last week Phil Mickelson was asked about Rory saying he was out of the Premier League, and Phil's response was, I don't know if I would want to give away my leverage right away like that. My question to you is, have you felt pressure from top players to use the Premier League as pressure to leverage more benefits for the top players?
JAY MONAHAN: I feel pressure from top players to continue to make sure our product is getting better and better and better, the playing opportunities they have are the best in the world, the platform we provide them is the single best platform in the world that's growing in value. So you always feel that pressure. It hasn't just started here over the last couple of months.

So I wouldn't say -- certainly this is a unique circumstance or situation, but you don't wake up and hear that and all of a sudden say, okay, we need to now start doing more. I'll take you back to where I started, which is we have a really -- we have such a great leadership team in here. We're so committed to where we are and where we're going. We're thinking multiple years down the road, and we're always thinking about our players and how we make things better for them, continue to make them better for them.

So long as we do that, I think we are going to continue to succeed.

Q. Once the dust settles on the health aspects of the coronavirus, the economic aspects are going to be long out there. Obviously you're a corporate-driven organization. How does that concern you over the short-term and the long-term, A; and B, the current sponsors you do have, if in fact there was a need in some way, shape or form for concessions from you, would you be willing to do that as a partner?
JAY MONAHAN: Well, I wasn't at the TOUR -- I joined the TOUR in 2009, and one of the most impressive things I experienced was the way Commissioner Finchem and the leadership team at the time assessed what was a deteriorating economic environment. And the strength of this organization, given the incredible impact that we have in the communities where we play, is not such that a tournament or a sponsor is looking generally to leave the marketplace or to leave their tournament. We have so many that have been there for 10 or more years.

But you have to always be aware of your surroundings. You always have to be aware of the environment. And so to answer your question, if a sponsor is challenged or a sponsor needs us to be open-minded relative to things that we can do to help them, we will always be that way.

But I point to the fact that one of the reasons that we've built up the reserves that we have, that we have the strong financial underpinning we have is that so when you get to a situation like that, we continue to proceed with the schedule that we have and the tournaments that we have, and we would get to the back end where we are today with even stronger partnerships than we currently have.

But hopefully that answers your question, that it would be -- in that situation, it's very dynamic and you take each conversation on a one-off basis.

Q. In regards to the Premier Golf League again, in the aftermath of all of this, there's been a lot of things proposed as ways of helping the so-called top-name players, the top-marketed players. Could you ever see appearance fees being allowed or some sort of a marketing pool used to sort of enhance their situation?
JAY MONAHAN: I would tell you that going back to the fact that we're in a position here where, starting in '22, you've got -- we've got a meaningful increase in the overall dollars that we're going to be allocating, that we're going to look at all facets of our business model, and I think that you look at where we're going to be from -- and I'm excited to one day share with you where we're going to be prize money-wise, Wyndham Rewards Top 10, where we're going to be with the FedExCup. But I think you have to be mindful of where do we need to be 10, 15 years from now, and to say that we're going to -- that we're looking at appearance fees at this time would be premature. We just had a board meeting last week where we finalized where we're going to be with our media rights and where we think we're going to go from an allocation standpoint and we'll rely quite heavily on our Player Advisory Council and our governance process to decide how to look at the next 10-plus years.

Q. Can you share where you think you're going to be?
JAY MONAHAN: I think we'll be -- listen, here we were excited to move to a $15 million purse. I see us getting to $25 million, and I see that certainly through the term, if not earlier in the term. I think when you look at the Cup, when we were here in '18 we were at $35, we move it to $70, 60 plus the 10 with the Wyndham Rewards Top 10. There's a day in the not-too-distant future where that Cup will be worth significantly more, perhaps $100 million or more. That's not a commitment, but that's, generally speaking, the kind of growth that I expected for us to see for our athletes.

Q. I also wanted to ask you what you see as the future of the Hall of Fame, specifically the building structure.
JAY MONAHAN: Well, we have a big meeting tomorrow from 10:00 to 12:00 where we'll select the 2021 class, and then as it relates to the building and the structure, we are committed to being in that building through 2021. We are looking at, with Greg McLaughlin's leadership and my industry partners or our industry partners, what life looks like continuing in that building, and then what all of our options are as we go forward.

I think that building has served the Hall of Fame exceedingly well in St. Augustine and may continue to be the case, but with the world changing and the world, the way people consume media, consume content, we want to make certain that we come out the back end of this that we've done everything we can to celebrate the incredible accomplishments of everybody that's in that Hall of Fame, so we're looking at a lot of different options, and we haven't settled on where we're going to be at this point.

Q. Everyone is going to be driving by the new headquarters building on the way in this week. Can you just update on the status of that, when you expect to be moving in and also when you might be adding some of the jobs that were promised with that?
JAY MONAHAN: We will be in that building on January 1st, maybe 2nd or 3rd, whenever we come back in the new year. I would tell you that we don't start adding jobs when we go into the new building. We've been adding jobs to grow and diversify our fan base and our technology business and platforms, adding jobs in our tournament business affairs group to support the work we do with all of our tournaments across all of our tours. We've done that over the last couple years. We're going to continue to do that as we go forward, and we feel very confident that the commitments that we made to the community will be honored. And we're really excited to go from 17 buildings in this town, and you think of the moment that Deane came down here and played across the street in the Father-Son, did not -- had an opportunity with Sawgrass Country Club, he and the board decided that wasn't the right opportunity, and then he negotiated long and hard for the dollar that he spent to have the opportunity to build this unbelievable property. But they started in a condo, which led to three condos, and now that three condos has gone to 17 different locations in Ponte Vedra.

When you think of a global organization with all the resources that we have, everybody being in the same building, one culture, it's such an exciting time for the organization, it's something we can't wait to get to, and Deane, Tim, thank you for getting us here.

Q. There's a great picture of Tiger from last year over your right shoulder, and I know it's great to have his participation, but given the great young influx of talent and all the different names that are a part of the game now, how has the TOUR's dependence on his participation changed?
JAY MONAHAN: Well, listen, any time you have Tiger playing, not only does it make an impact on golf fans and core golf fans, it makes -- it reaches all tentacles of the sports marketplace worldwide. He is a global icon. As we sit here today, his presence, his excellence, what he's been able to accomplish over the last couple years, obviously we're disappointed he's not here this week, but he told you all, I think the expression was the new normal, and he used it 18 to 24 months ago. And I think him being smart about understanding his body and only playing when he thinks he can win is the new normal.

But in terms of our dependence, Ben Crane said it best: He said, when Tiger Woods -- when young kids started watching Tiger Woods, they stopped playing baseball, football, hockey, and they started playing golf, and now he's out here and he's competing against the very athletes he created. And so his presence is here, literally, even if he's not here playing in the tournament.

And the way I look at Tiger is that will always be the case. His legacy is something that will always be celebrated the next 30, 40, 50 years or in perpetuity, and his impact, it's all around this property.

Q. We have quite some presence and partnership in countries like China, Korea and Japan where the coronavirus is highly affecting them. Has it ever been on your agenda to start some initiative and charitable campaign to help the local government and the people, especially we've seen some other sports and organizations, like NBA, they have done a lot to help them and also like growing the presence in international markets is one of the things you talk about a lot.
JAY MONAHAN: Yes. Well, you know, obviously one of the things that we did right away was to postpone the start of our PGA TOUR China Series Qualifying School and the start of that season. I think for us, recognizing that we're going to be in the marketplace later this year hopefully, and with our people on the ground, there are a number of things that we're doing to support our employees and there are a number of things that we'll be doing to support everybody on the ground. That's part of the DNA of this organization.

So I feel really good about where we are and what we'll continue to do to be supportive on that front, and any time you get into a situation like this where there's a worldwide -- you've got worldwide impact, generally speaking, we feel really good about the story we can tell when everything is said and done. We're less vocal about what we've done up front, but I feel very good about what we're doing.

Q. Going back to the TV deal for a second, one of the elements of that was the TOUR taking on production responsibilities. Two questions about that. Why, and secondly, what that means for golf on television, sort of what it looks like going forward.
JAY MONAHAN: I think the simplest way for me to answer it is, a couple years ago, we were in business with NBC, The Golf Channel and with CBS. We had Discovery and you built a direct-to-consumer platform in every market ex-U.S. and now we're placing our rights as they come up market to market. We're producing a lot more content than we've ever produced internationally.

You add the expanded partnerships with CBS, NBC, Golf Channel, you add ESPN+, and you add the fact that our fans are seeking more content, what we decided, and Rick Anderson and his team did a wonderful job of identifying this, and candidly our partners have been great in responding and adapting to it, is that we're going to need to produce more content, and we need to have a singular look at how we do that, given the commitments we have across a number of partners, including our own platforms.

So that's why we've done that. It gives us a greater ability to effect that and honor the commitments we have in this extraordinary period of time that we're in.

Q. One of the most recent major discussions has been on the bifurcation of the golf ball. It's been discussed for over 10 years by the USGA and the PGA. Now, this weekend we're going to have warm weather and we're going to have firm fairways, and your TV announcers are going to say the ball just went 340 yards. The USGA is going to come back and say, the ball is going too far. Do you have any thoughts on that?
JAY MONAHAN: Do I have any thoughts? I would say, first of all, the USGA and the R&A, I commend the work that they did, stepping back and fully assessing the subject of distance. We are, as an industry partner, we're committed to the process that they've outlined. And not only committed, we're fully invested in it, and we want to make certain that, not only are we invested in it and understanding all the various options that they're thinking about, but we're also looking at it selfishly from the perspective of what's in the best interest of the PGA TOUR and also what's in the best interest of the game.

So for me to take a position before that process has started and before we've been into more formal discussions I think would be getting ahead of the process itself. But I think it's pretty obvious, when they sent out the report and they introduced the concept of exploring a local rule, that spooked a few people out. So we need to all get together, get in a room and really understand this subject, all of its implications and be good industry partners, and that's what we plan on doing.

Q. Does that include the ball manufacturers and the cost it's going to be to a ball manufacturer to change --
JAY MONAHAN: Well, the Vancouver protocol very specifically states that it will. We've got great partnerships with all the manufacturers, and they're going to be a part of the process. We're also going to continue to talk to as many people that are impacted and affected by this industry, so that we're as fully knowledgeable as we can be.

Q. If the tournament can't be held in Austin, would the WGC just be canceled or is there a backup place in plan now?
JAY MONAHAN: Well, as I said earlier, we fully expect that the tournament will be held in Austin. That tournament is two weeks away. We're all in and making certain that we're able to operate that event.

Now, there are various iterations or there are different ways of operating an event based on the circumstances in terms of fan involvement and how we operate the event, but we're still confident that we'd be able to operate the event.

LAURA NEAL: Any parting thoughts before we head out?

JAY MONAHAN: Well, I would just say thank you, as I said up front, to everybody in this room. I think about how our organization continues to evolve. I think about the strength of our membership and the strength of our athletes and our tournaments and where we are, and I just couldn't be more excited to walk forward into the next decade with all of you here and to work to grow the greatest game on the planet. So thank you very much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297