View the PGA Tour’s “nanny” approach to players as a responsibility

The term “nurturing state” is attributed to Ian MacLeod, a British MP who felt that the government was overprotective and shielding people from the consequences of their actions. MacLeod died in 1970, so he did not live to see his theoretical concept completed through a series of CEOs in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

The PGA Tour takes pride in its values ​​and there is much to be proud of, such as sportsmanship and philanthropy. However, its most enduring principle is not publicly promoted but practiced in secret: secrecy. In his more than two decades as commissioner, Tim Fenchem—and his successor Jay Monahan did not dismantle—created a culture centered on secrecy and coding. Players assume the tour will revolve around wagons to protect them from scrutiny or criticism, and there’s a parallel determination at HQ to never be disappointed in this regard, regardless of whether the problem is the profanity a handful have heard or the hidden adventures many have experienced.

Veterans of the Ponte Vedra Political Bureau will tell you that this is the nature of member-led organizations, and it is a fair nature. The PGA Tour is the government of the players, for the players (not for the fans, you hardly need to point out). But next week’s LIV Golf Invitational near London – the first in a series of sports wash events funded by the Saudi regime – will reveal whether the protectionist mentality is so entrenched that the Tour will inadvertently help its potential rival. There is already evidence to support such a suspicion.

A few dozen PGA Tour members sought the versions required to compete in the inaugural LIV Golf, which the Tour ultimately denied. The names of the applicants have not been made public, except for those who have admitted it themselves (Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood) or have been previously identified. Golf Week (Robert Garrigues). Two weeks ago, May 17 was the deadline for members to request concessions to play the first LIV event in the US, scheduled for July 1-3 in Portland, Oregon. That deadline came after it was clear that the tour would deny permission for any LIV event and prepare for the inevitable litigation. So those who still apply to play in Portland are probably one (or more) of three things: too optimistic, too extroverted, or contractually bound to the Saudis.

This list of names is of interest not only to fans but also to companies that find themselves sponsoring potential clients for sports laundry. There is no legitimate reason why the names should be classified, yet the tour has repeatedly refused to reveal who has applied for permission to mate with the Saudis, whether in the UK or the US. This is the gig culture in action, even if it means protecting players whose actions could undermine the tour itself. It’s a modus operandi that will face a stress test next week.

There will be PGA Tour members who challenge rejection of releases and play the LIV Invitational. To be named in the field roster or even participate in London does not put the member in violation of tour regulations, but put the tee on the ground on June 9. That’s when we learn whether the tour is hopelessly linked to its traditional, heavy-handed and secretive way of dealing with disciplinary action.

An aggressive response by Monahan would not only mean the immediate suspension of these players, but a public announcement of it. Doing so would signal decisive action – the support that exists among a wide range of its members – but also delegitimize the Saudi championship before any inflated checks are handed over. However, it would also represent a seismic strategic shift for an organization long accustomed to serving as the sole judge in closed session, rather than as a public prosecutor.

Adhering to the standards – not publicizing penalties and conducting disciplinary action at a leisurely pace in secret – serves only those players who want to act as they know (or unwittingly) as parents of the kingdom without having to face the public consequences of doing so, from both golf fans and their golf partners. companies. There is no reason for the PGA Tour to enable them.

A sport aiming for a share of legal gambling revenue has come to understand that transparency is an expectation, not an option, particularly when it comes to disciplinary issues that have a direct impact on outcomes. It’s time to dispense with the PGA Tour with its quintessential pleasure. Rory McIlroy said the same at the Players Championship in March. “I’ve always felt that quite a few bans or suspensions, I think, should be announced,” he said. “I think this should be more transparent.”

Monahan was informed of the comment shortly thereafter during his private press conference. “I’d say it’s effective immediately, Rory McIlroy is on hold,” he replied with a laugh.

It was a joke at the time, but shrug it off as such next week Tor executives could find a bleak connection in another term coined by a long-dead Englishman, William Shakespeare, who warned 500 years ago of the dangers of being levitated.