PGA – A LETTER TO NEW COMMISSIONER MONAHAN

Dear Jay Monahan,

Yesterday, I heard that you will be taking over for Tim Finchem on January 1, 2017 as the next Commissioner of the PGA Tour.  Congratulations!

You must be excited and well, maybe even nervous.  It’s a huge undertaking since Finchem was at the helm for 22 years, expanded the Tour and helped it to prosper exponentially.

But, you were Deputy Commissioner for a couple years and had other roles with the PGA.  So, you kinda know what you’re doing already, right?

Well, I think the PGA Tour is a good product as is.  But, I do have several suggestions and/or changes that I’d like to see you implement as you move into your reign.

First, the rules are too complicated.  What’s the issue with simplifying them?  I read an AP article in August which indicated that the R&A and USGA have had a group of people “modernizing” the rules for 5 years so far, but a final draft is still “years away”.   Can you help move this along?

Second, could you make it easier to watch the Tour online?  I know an App already exists, but it’s slow and irritating to use.  I’d also like to see my favorite player(s) with just the click of the mouse when I want to for every tournament.  How come I can’t do that right now?  I would also love to watch PGA coverage outside of TV air time that might work better with my schedule.

Third, it doesn’t sit right that the top players gear their entire schedule around winning the majors and leave out the smaller tournaments.  I realize that a new rule will be in place this season requiring players to play a new event or pay a financial penalty.  But, I hear that many players are upset about it and won’t comply.  Plus, it’s only going to be 1 event the player hasn’t played in the last 4 years.  If you ask me, expanding this requirement could help bring fans in to the smaller events (like me).

Fourth, earlier this year, Commissioner Finchem spoke about unifying the PGA Tour, LPGA and the European Tour under one governing body which would globalize golf and help it compete with other global sports.  I love this idea and hope you keep plugging it.

Fifth, I wish the PGA Tour would reconsider letting caddies get bib compensation and be treated better.  I wrote an article back in Feb 2015 outlining the problem, but I’m sure you’re well aware of it.  These hard-working men and women should be allowed to receive a cut of the major profits that they help to bring in.  And, there should be a better overall reception for the caddies at events.

Sixth, regarding pace of play: I don’t have a huge problem with it because I love watching golf and frankly, I need more time out there as an amateur.  But, I have friends and family who wish things would speed up when they watch. Can you help with this too?

Seventh, as you renegotiate the next television contracts, can you urge networks to add more fun and coolness to their PGA coverage?  It would make golf more exciting to watch and could help bring in new fans.  I suggest more drone use, more interesting camera angles and fresh, younger reporters do interviews.  I would also like to see the broadcasters down on the greens to get us closer to the courses.  It’s not enough that networks give us animated flyovers to describe the conditions.

Eighth, I love the PGA partnership with Topgolf.  Such a great idea to help bring in fans and give a modern feel to the sport.  It’ll also help golfers not feel so intimidated when they hit with others watching (like me).  We need more of this kind of innovation.

Ninth, I hope you bring more of a balance between the new generation of golfers and the “old guard” on the PGA Tour.  There does seem to be a bit of shift going on in other traditional sports like baseball, and it’s happening with pro golf, too.  My advice: go easy on the Millennials.  They are individuals, some are superstars, but they are all the future of the sport and influence young fans.

That’s all I’ve got for now.  Although, I do plan to plan to send you a follow-up letter next year some time to check in on your progress.  Be sure to look for that.

So, good luck, have fun and… don’t be nervous.

 

Best regards,

Shelly Holt

 

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