Sports

The PGA Tour Commissioner Stands to Lose Millions and is OK With It

With men’s golf one of the sports completely shut down by the coronavirus pandemic, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan has stopped taking a salary and confirmed that several top executives are taking pay cuts.

Golfweek reported that the top executives volunteered to take 25% cuts and that all other employees have had their salaries frozen at 2019 levels.

PGA Tour leader Jay Monahan takes a big personal hit

Jay Monahan, who became commissioner of the PGA Tour for the 2017 season, did not indicate when he would resume taking a salary. He disclosed his decision to the Players Advisory Council on Tuesday. According to the PGA Tour’s tax filings, he was paid $3.9 million in 2017.

Monahan, 48, played on the golf team at Division III Trinity College in Connecticut and earned a master’s degree in sports management from UMass in 1995. While working for IMG Worldwide, he became involved in the operation of the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston, working his way up to tournament director.

Monahan joined the PGA Tour office in 2008 as executive director of The Players Championship and continued moving up the ranks. He was the PGA Tour’s chief operating officer when commissioner Tim Finchem announced his retirement in late 2016.

The PGA Tour will remain dark through at least late May

Having held out as one of the last major sports in the country to try playing on as the coronavirus crisis unfolded, the PGA Tour suspended play March 13 after one round of The Players Championship.

Commissioner Jay Monahan announced at that time that four more tournaments were being canceled: the Valspar Championship, WGC-Dell Match Play Championship, Punta Cana Championship, and Valero Texas Open.

With the pandemic still not contained and tightened public safety measures being enforced throughout the country, the RBC Heritage, Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Wells Fargo Championship, and AT&T Byron Nelson were canceled by the PGA Tour this week.

It has also canceled events on its five other tours, including the PGA Tour Champions. In all, 17 events have been canceled and 20 postponed. The Masters and PGA Championship, which are not conducted by the PGA Tour, are among the other events postponed until at least the end of May.

The focus has been on athletes’ pay

Commissioner Jay Monahan of the PGA Tour may be the first top executive of a professional sports organization to stop drawing a salary this month. Much of the attention by sports fans has been on the status of paychecks for athletes now that the NBA, NHL, and MLS have suspended their seasons and Major League Baseball has pushed back its openers.

MLB players and those on the 40-man roster, who normally don’t get paid by their teams until the start of the season, are receiving $1,100 a week from the MLB Players Association through at least April 9, when team payrolls are supposed to kick in.

NBA players have been receiving their regular paychecks, but the league reportedly can activate the force majeure clause of the collective bargaining agreement that would allow owners to withhold a portion of salaries.

The NHL has said that its players will receive their final three regular-season paychecks and the MLS, whose season had just started, is continuing to pay players.