What’s on new PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan's table?

What’s on new PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan's table?

PGA Tour

What’s on new PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan's table?

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When Jay Monahan, 46, officially takes over as the newest PGA Tour commissioner, succeeding Tim Finchem, who has been in the job since 1994, these are a few of the issues that will earn his early attention:

• • •

TV

Digging in to negotiate the PGA Tour’s next television deals, and defining new media in the 2020s: The Tour’s deals with CBS, NBC Sports and Golf Channel all run through 2021, but already talks have begun regarding the next generation of contracts. The Tour has a huge opportunity here: Most professional leagues preside over sporting contests that last 2-3 hours; a day of golf can extend beyond 12 hours, and a tournament features four days of play. That means plenty of action outside a typical television broadcast window, providing lucrative live-streaming and digital opportunities that could deliver significant revenues by providing extra content to fans who want to consume action on computers or mobile devices. Under Monahan’s leadership, could we be far away from a PGA Tour Channel?

Globalization

Helping define a bigger global strategy for the Tour: In September, asked if he had any regrets as he looked at his 22-year run, Finchem said he wished that the Tour’s push for more globalization was farther along. The PGA Tour did recently announce a new event for 2017 in South Korea, which gives it a three-event Asian swing in the early part of the 2017-18 schedule, but Finchem said he had hoped to see “more acceleration” in establishing the PGA Tour outside the U.S. “I don’t beat myself up on it,” he said, “because candidly there were other factors at work that impacted the situation … We’ll see if the new team can kick it down the alley a little quicker.”

The schedule

The Tour will stage 47 events this season with official events in 11 months of the year. There are seven fall events that kick off a wrap-around season that provides terrific playing opportunities for young newcomers and veterans who have limited status (we give you Sanderson Farms winner Cody Gribble and Shriners champion Rod Pampling). But honestly, is it too much? Should there be an expanded “offseason” where a player can re-energize and not worry about falling behind? The idea of the FedEx Cup Playoffs was to have the series completed before football kicked off. That hasn’t been the case. Could that be tweaked? Are four playoff events the right number? Three? Also, a season that includes Olympic competition, such as the one just completed (golf’s first appearance in the Games since 1904), can be quite condensed with big events jammed together. Is there a better solution? One catch: Schedule changes likely will be gradual, as the schedule goes hand in hand with any TV deal.

• • •

Drug testing

Now that golf is an Olympic sport, should the Tour have more rigid testing for performance-enhancing drugs, asking for blood samples and not urine? And along those lines, should the PGA Tour step in line with most other major sports and have transparency in the way it deals with disciplining potential drug offenders and levying other fines? This is a tricky one, for sure, as the Tour wants to protect its squeaky-clean image at all costs.

• • •

Proprietary events

Can the Tour find a way to make the Presidents Cup, its biennial answer to the Ryder Cup, more compelling (the U.S. has dominated) and breathe more life into its series of World Golf Championships? The four-tournament WGC series will feature at least two events outside the U.S. in 2016-17, as the event formally staged at Trump National Doral Miami moves to Mexico City. (The WGC-HSBC Champions is in China.)

• • •

Proprietary events

Can the Tour find a way to make the Presidents Cup, its biennial answer to the Ryder Cup, more compelling (the U.S. has dominated) and breathe more life into its series of World Golf Championships? The four-tournament WGC series will feature at least two events outside the U.S. in 2016-17, as the event formally staged at Trump National Doral Miami moves to Mexico City. (The WGC-HSBC Champions is in China.)

The schedule

The Tour will stage 47 events this season with official events in 11 months of the year. There are seven fall events that kick off a wrap-around season that provides terrific playing opportunities for young newcomers and veterans who have limited status (we give you Sanderson Farms winner Cody Gribble and Shriners champion Rod Pampling). But honestly, is it too much? Should there be an expanded “offseason” where a player can re-energize and not worry about falling behind? The idea of the FedEx Cup Playoffs was to have the series completed before football kicked off. That hasn’t been the case. Could that be tweaked? Are four playoff events the right number? Three? Also, a season that includes Olympic competition, such as the one just completed (golf’s first appearance in the Games since 1904), can be quite condensed with big events jammed together. Is there a better solution? One catch: Schedule changes likely will be gradual, as the schedule goes hand in hand with any TV deal.

Drug testing

Now that golf is an Olympic sport, should the Tour have more rigid testing for performance-enhancing drugs, asking for blood samples and not urine? And along those lines, should the PGA Tour step in line with most other major sports and have transparency in the way it deals with disciplining potential drug offenders and levying other fines? This is a tricky one, for sure, as the Tour wants to protect its squeaky-clean image at all costs.

Proprietary events

Can the Tour find a way to make the Presidents Cup, its biennial answer to the Ryder Cup, more compelling (the U.S. has dominated) and breathe more life into its series of World Golf Championships? The four-tournament WGC series will feature at least two events outside the U.S. in 2016-17, as the event formally staged at Trump National Doral Miami moves to Mexico City. (The WGC-HSBC Champions is in China.)

Momentum

Maintaining momentum is the main message Monahan will hammer home to his team. He inherits a great product from Finchem, just as Finchem inherited a strong product from his predecessor, Deane Beman, in 1994. Growth is always a nice goal, but making sure to maintain momentum is key. Sponsorship is in a good place (players will compete for $339 million in purses in 2016-17), the FedEx Cup has traction and is starting to build history after a decade, young stars have established themselves, and charitable dollars – one of the Tour’s best but little-told stories – have crossed the $2.3 billion mark. Monahan’s main task as he settles in: Keep everything rolling down the road.

Deputy Commissioner Jay Monahan and Dustin Johnson pose with the Gary Player Cup after Johnson wins the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club on July 3, 2016.

Deputy Commissioner Jay Monahan and Dustin Johnson pose with the Gary Player Cup after Johnson wins the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club on July 3, 2016.

Momentum

Maintaining momentum is the main message Monahan will hammer home to his team. He inherits a great product from Finchem, just as Finchem inherited a strong product from his predecessor, Deane Beman, in 1994. Growth is always a nice goal, but making sure to maintain momentum is key. Sponsorship is in a good place (players will compete for $339 million in purses in 2016-17), the FedEx Cup has traction and is starting to build history after a decade, young stars have established themselves, and charitable dollars – one of the Tour’s best but little-told stories – have crossed the $2.3 billion mark. Monahan’s main task as he settles in: Keep everything rolling down the road.

Deputy Commissioner Jay Monahan and Dustin Johnson pose with the Gary Player Cup after Johnson wins the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club on July 3, 2016.

Deputy Commissioner Jay Monahan and Dustin Johnson pose with the Gary Player Cup after Johnson wins the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club on July 3, 2016.

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