PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Jay Monahan made clear the PGA Tour has no plans to get into golf rule-making anytime soon.
Speaking before The Players, the PGA Tour commissioner doubled down on his memo from March 4, effectively telling his players to stop publicly complaining about golf’s revamped rules.
“We have two fantastic professional governing bodies of the game,” he said Wednesday. “We have always played by their rules and we will continue to play by their rules. And we are not going to be playing by our own rules. We think that the game is best served with everybody playing by the same rules and the same standards. We think it’s a source of inspiration for the game.”
The inspiration for questions on the topic arose after the Jan. 1 change to simplify rules that seemed less simple when inevitable hiccups occurred in PGA Tour and European Tour competition. Players complained about elements of the rules, often with legitimate concerns. But as names like Brandt Snedeker and Jimmy Walker joined the social media chorus to suggest the PGA Tour break from the rules governed in North America by the USGA, Monahan conceded that his tour had a seat at the rules revamp table.
“We the PGA Tour, along with every other golf organization, had really been really encouraging a review of the rules and really encouraging a modernization, a simplification,” he said. “And the USGA and the R&A responded, and they responded with great zeal.”
Monahan mentioned a two-hour Wednesday morning meeting with members of the R&A, USGA, LPGA, PGA of America and Augusta National. He suggested a renewed desire to better work together.
“I think what’s happened here the last few weeks has just exposed a weakness in our working relationship, which happens when you’ve got a lot of different organizations,” Monahan said. “So we’re going to tighten that up, and we’re going to move forward in a way that is going to be good for the game and certainly is going to get us to the right place over time with these new rules.”
Monahan’s contrition suggested he’d heard less-than-gentle pushback from some of the organizations. He has positioned his tour as not having a significant slow play or distance issue, yet sounded open to compromise solutions following the meetings.
“How do we fully understand each other’s perspectives, and then how do we have good debate and discussion about what the solutions?” he said regarding the distance debate. “I want to be clear that this is on us, too. We just need to be more transparent, more forthcoming about our thinking across the board, and I think that’s going to get us to a good place.”