PGA Tour chief Monahan steps back due to 'medical situation'

LOS ANGELES: Under-fire PGA Tour chief Jay Monahan is stepping away from day-to-day operations of the tour as he recovers from an undisclosed medical situation, a statement said Tuesday.

Monahan has faced stinging criticism in the wake of the PGA Tour's shock merger with the Saudi backers of LIV Golf last week, with multiple players calling for him to resign.

A brief joint statement from Monahan and the PGA Tour policy board on Tuesday said Monahan would step back from his duties for an unspecified period as he recovers.

"Jay Monahan informed the PGA TOUR Policy board that he is recuperating from a medical situation," the statement said.

"The board fully supports Jay and appreciates everyone respecting his privacy."

The statement said PGA Tour chief operating officer Ron Price and Tyler Dennis, executive vice president of the tour would lead "day-to-day operations" in Monahan's absence.

"We will provide further updates as appropriate," the statement added.

Monahan was the target of fury by PGA Tour players last week after news broke of the bombshell agreement that will see the tour and DP World Tour join forces with the Saudi backers of the LIV golf circuit.

Monahan – who had railed against LIV since its inception while simultaneously lobbying star tour players to resist huge paydays to join the circuit – was accused of hypocrisy after the volte face.

Speaking in a media conference call following announcement of the merger, Monahan said he understood the criticism directed his way.

"I recognise that people are going to call me a hypocrite," Monahan said.

Monahan also expressed regret for not informing families of the September 11, 2001 attacks of the deal beforehand.

"In allowing confidentiality to prevail, I did not communicate to very important constituents, including the families of 9/11, and I regret that. I really do," Monahan said.

The 9/11 Families United coalition had been one of the staunchest critics of the Saudi-financed LIV Golf.

Monahan had invoked the issue of 9/11 during his campaign against LIV last year, asking players whether they had "ever had to apologise" for being members of the PGA Tour.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers in the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington were Saudi nationals.

9/11 Families United chair Terry Strada accused PGA Tour leaders of "hypocrisy and greed", adding that "Our entire 9/11 community has been betrayed by Commissioner Monahan."--AFP

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