New PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan perfect man for the times


By Kathy Bissell

Jay Monahan doesn’t tweet.

He once worked for Bobby Orr. He comes from a golf family. He was good enough to be on the college golf team at Trinity. He thinks golf is the “greatest game ever.” He thinks Tiger Woods can still win, and says that’s going to be his answer when Woods is 75 years old. When asked by Rich Lerner of Golf Channel what he wanted to accomplish in his first year, he replied that in the first year, he wants the late Arnold Palmer to be proud of his efforts.

Could you draw up someone better to fill former Commissioner Tim Finchem’s shoes?

“He has been a key member of the executive team since joining the tour and has worked closely with me on all business matters since becoming deputy commissioner,” Finchem said when it was announced that the Monahan would replace him.

Monahan’s advancement to commissioner was voted on by a board comprised of four highly skilled businessmen and six PGA Tour players. The vote was unanimous.

“Jay has proven himself to be an outstanding leader who has developed an intimate knowledge and understanding of the PGA Tour and a clear vision for the future of the organization,” said Victor F. Ganzi, chairman of the policy board. “He is highly respected among our members, staff, business partners and the golf industry as a whole. We are extremely fortunate to have someone of Jay’s caliber fully prepared to assume the role of commissioner and lead the PGA Tour’s exceptional executive team as it continues to build upon the remarkable success achieved under Tim’s leadership.”

The new commissioner has a rich history of sports marketing and sports business experience on which to draw. He came to the PGA Tour after working for Fenway Sports Group, the organization that among other things, owns the Boston Red Sox, New England Sports Network, Roush Fenway Racing (NASCAR) and Liverpool Football Club, what we call soccer. Prior to joining Fenway Sports Group, Monahan was executive director at IMG Worldwide and had a role in the creation of what was then the Deutsche Bank tournament, where he was tournament director. It is now the Dell Technologies Championship, a part of the FexExCup Finals.

It was in 2008 that Monahan joined the PGA Tour as executive director of the PGA Tour’s flagship event, THE PLAYERS. He progressed to become senior vice president for business development, and then was promoted to executive vice president and chief marketing officer, overseeing business development, corporate marketing and partnerships, title sponsor relations, retail licensing and media sales. That’s the big stuff. From there, he became the deputy commissioner and last spring, COO of the PGA Tour.

Monahan has a little more on his plate than Finchem did 20 years ago, thanks to several programs that Finchem started. There are several additional international tours, including PGA Tour Latinoamérica, PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour China. There’s also the First Tee, International Federation of PGA Tours – which spearheaded the Olympic golf movement – World Golf Championships and World Golf Foundation.

“Under Tim’s leadership, the PGA Tour has made remarkable progress, even in the most difficult economic times,” Monahan said about Finchem when his new role was announced. “We are now entering a very important time in our organization’s history, and I know our executive team and I will draw upon and be inspired by the invaluable experience of working with Tim as we take advantage of the extraordinary opportunities, as well as face the challenges, that are ahead for the Tour.”

Photos Getty Images courtesy of PGA Tour