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Jay Monahan took a leave of absence from his post as PGA Tour commissioner exactly one week after announcing the Tour’s surprising plans to merge with the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF). The timing of the “medical situation” was tough to ignore, but now Monahan has revealed it was anxiety that led to his health scare.
Speaking ahead of this week’s FedEx St. Jude Championship in Memphis, the first FedEx Cup Playoff event, Monahan explained that negotiations for the merger with the Saudi PIF, LIV Golf, and DP World Tour took a toll on him both mentally and physically.
“I think the reality for me was that I was dealing with anxiety, which created physical and mental health issues and challenges for me,” Monahan said, according to ESPN. “And I realized that I needed to step away and to deal with that and understand how to develop the skills to deal with that going forward.”
The Tour announced Monahan’s leave of absence on June 14 and he officially returned to work on July 17. Given his month-long hiatus to return to health, Monahan certainly had time to reflect on what had taken place, which was nothing short of announcing plans to change professional golf.
It was impossible for Monahan to ignore his critics, which included plenty of PGA Tour players, after the surprise announcement that many of the biggest names on Tour weren’t even aware of until they saw Monahan on television breaking down the planned merger.
It’s safe to say he regrets how they went about making the merger announcement.
“It was ineffective,” Monahan explained. “And as a result, there was a lot of misinformation. I think anytime you have misinformation that can lead to mistrust, and that’s my responsibility.”
“It’s nobody else’s responsibility — that’s me and me alone. As I’ve said, I take full accountability for that. At the same time, I apologize for putting players on their back foot, but ultimately the move that we made is the right move for the PGA Tour. I firmly believe that. And as we go forward, time will bear that out.”
While Monahan is willing to admit the rollout of the merger was “ineffective,” he’s still confident the sport-shifting move happens and, in the end, will be “a rewarding result” for both players and fans.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris