PGA Tour’s ‘nanny’ approach exposed as a liability by Saudi event

The term ‘nanny state’ is widely credited to Iain Macleod, a member of the British parliament who felt the government was unduly overprotective and shielded people from the consequences of their own actions. Macleod died in 1970, so he didn’t live to see his notional concept perfected by a succession of executives in faraway Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

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Jay Monahan has an edge on his Saudi rivals, but more forced change lies ahead.

Success stories in sport often owe as much to the ineptitude of the vanquished as to the brilliance of the victor. When future generations of Tweeters analyze the past few years in golf, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan will be credited for deft backroom diplomacy in building crucial alliances both public (key players) and private (Chairman Ridley). Yet a thorough accounting should note the extent to which Monahan has benefitted from the bumbling of those pushing a Saudi-financed rival league, a mutiny of clowns that could make Bozo seem Churchillian by comparison.

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Just like his Super League idea, Greg Norman’s war against the PGA Tour only exists on paper.

It’s unlikely that PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan will ever respond to the letter he received this week from Greg Norman, for much the same reason that he probably wouldn’t engage someone wearing a tinfoil hat and shrieking in the street. But if he did reply, Monahan could do worse than to heed the example of James Bailey, a former general counsel for the Cleveland Browns.

In 1974, an Akron, Ohio, lawyer named Dale Cox angrily threatened to sue the Browns over the dangers posed by fans launching paper airplanes around him in the stadium. Bailey returned the complainant’s letter with a famously terse response that has been widely circulated over the years.

“Dear Mr. Cox,” he wrote, “I feel that you should be aware that some asshole is signing your name to stupid letters.”

Continue reading “Just like his Super League idea, Greg Norman’s war against the PGA Tour only exists on paper.”

Phil Mickelson’s mouth has brought him — and his greedy Saudi scheme — to the brink of ruin

An old adage—often wrongly attributed to Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”—holds that if you wait by the riverbank long enough, the bodies of your enemies will eventually float by. That’s as good a metaphor as any for how some golf industry executives must have felt in the wake of recent comments by Phil Mickelson that incinerated his reputation, alienated most every constituency in the game, exposed him to disciplinary action, and otherwise cast him in a light so unflatteringly amoral that even Greg Norman might hesitate to be seen in his company.

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PGA Tour Should Concede Waivers Battle For Sake Of Bigger War—Against A Saudi Takeover.

The PGA Tour has a month to decide whether to remain focused on a game of cat and mouse it is positioned to win, or instead be suckered into a game of chicken it would almost certainly lose.

Until January 4, to be exact—30 days out from the first round of the Saudi International, by which point it must decide whether to grant releases to members who want to compete in the Kingdom.

Continue reading “PGA Tour Should Concede Waivers Battle For Sake Of Bigger War—Against A Saudi Takeover.”

PGA Tour Protecting Its Players Shouldn’t Mean Babysitting Bryson DeChambeau.

Jay Monahan earns around $4 million a year, which easily qualifies him as America’s most well-compensated babysitter. Yet it might barely exceed the hourly minimum wage given all of the extra work the PGA Tour commissioner just created for himself.

Continue reading “PGA Tour Protecting Its Players Shouldn’t Mean Babysitting Bryson DeChambeau.”

PGA Tour Boss Jay Monahan Digs A Line In The Sand Against Upstart Leagues.

A friend who knows him once told me that there are two Jay Monahans. “There’s Golf Jay and Hockey Jay,” he said of the mulish Boston native, “and you don’t want to meet Hockey Jay.”

It sounds as though it was Hockey Jay who addressed a meeting of PGA Tour players this week in Charlotte, at which the commissioner laid out in unambiguous terms the sanctions awaiting anyone who joins either of the splinter circuits promising gaudy sums in a bid to upend professional golf’s established order.

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In Protecting One—Patrick Reed—The Tour Risks Losing Respect of Many

By now, PGA Tour executives must feel a gloomy kinship with those anonymous White House officials who regularly insist the President is taking a mature approach on an issue, only to wake to another inflammatory tweet storm from the toilet. For no matter how meticulously the Tour has sought to douse the Patrick Reed conflagration, Reed himself only provides more kindling.

A number of truths became apparent when Golfweek revealed that Reed has engaged a lawyer in an effort to silence Brandel Chamblee, the most prominent critic of his alleged cheating at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas last month.

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PGA Tour Must Take Harder Line on Cheating Allegations

Accusations of cheating are tossed around as casually as wedding confetti in most sports, whether it’s Tom Brady’s flaccid ball or Neymar’s roll playing. Not in golf, though. The PGA Tour markets itself as a roving Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, in which upright citizens conduct themselves with probity while helping bestow charitable riches in towns across America.

That image isn’t entirely contrived. The overwhelming majority of Tour pros are honest competitors, and public claims of unscrupulous on-course behavior are rare. Sure, not everyone meets the loftiest standards of conduct, but you can appreciate why the Tour’s old motto sacrificed awkward accuracy — “99 Percent of These Guys Are Good” – for comforting sentiment.

When the Rules of Golf make news, it’s almost always due to unwitting infractions or witless enforcement. Seldom because of an alleged deliberate violation. That’s what made the recent episode between Joel Dahmen and Sung Kang at the Quicken Loans National so extraordinary.

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Obnoxious Fans Just Won’t Go Away

The debate over unruly crowd behavior at golf tournaments is – much like those troublesome fans – growing louder, increasingly fractious and more persistent. A welcome respite looms at golf’s marquee event.

You probably won’t hear much chatter on that subject during the Masters, chiefly because you won’t hear much of the hecklers either. Enforcing rules that seem outdated is a tradition unlike any other at Augusta National, but one tradition warrants celebrating: A patron who bellows abuse or inanities at a player quickly will feel security on his collar (it’s always a “him”) and swiftly be shown to the street.

You won’t hear Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley asking for patience or acceptance of the lobotomized louts, or requesting that players simply deal with the disruption. Spectators pay to watch the show, not to be part of it. The Masters Committee understands that.

Why can’t the PGA Tour?

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Mark Hensby’s Curious Suspension

Mark Hensby is familiar with punishment that seems harsh for the crime. He learned that growing up in Australia, when a sloppily made bed, an untidy closet, even cutlery held the wrong way, led to brutal beatings by his father.

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Time PGA Tour Took Stand On Slow Play


It’s probably for the best that J.B. Holmes didn’t play the Sony Open in Hawaii a few weeks ago, since a man who can’t pull the trigger on laying up into the rough within four minutes surely would be paralyzed with uncertainty when faced with an alert about an incoming ballistic missile.

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J.B. Holmes.

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