- ay Monahan will talk to the player if he returns to PGA Tour
- Rory McIlroy calls for more transparency with player sanctions
Any outbreak of peace between Phil Mickelson and the PGA Tour will need to be instigated by the player. Jay Monahan, the Tour’s commissioner, stated that “the ball is in his court” after Mickelson’s comments about a Saudi Arabia-backed breakaway league. Mickelson is in the midst of a break from golf at his own behest but Monahan did not dismiss the idea of suspension for the six-time major winner.
“He has said that he’s stepping away and he wants time for reflection,” said Monahan. “That’s something that I and we are going to respect and honour. When he’s ready to come back to the PGA Tour, we’re going to have that conversation. That’s a conversation I look forward to.
“I have not talked to Phil since he made his comments and since he said that he was stepping away. I think the ball is in his court. I would welcome a phone call from him. But it’s hard for me to talk about the different scenarios that could play out.” A key intrigue surrounds whether Mickelson will end his break from the game at next month’s Masters, an event he has won three times.
The Tour never reveal details of player sanctions. Still, it was notable that Monahan refused to confirm whether Mickelson would have been welcome to feature in this week’s Players Championship had he chosen to do so. “He stepped away on his own accord and he asked for time,” the commissioner added. “He’s been given that time. We don’t comment on disciplinary matters, potential matters or actual matters. But every player is accountable for their actions out here.”
Before Monahan spoke, Rory McIlroy had publicly called for the Tour to change their approach about players who breach the rules. “I think transparency and maybe it not being as closed a shop,” said McIlroy of what the Tour should look to improve. “I’ve always felt that a few of the bans or suspensions, I think that should all be announced. I think that should be more transparent. I’ve always said that.”
Monahan had opened his traditional pre-Players address with a swipe at Mickelson. “We are and we always will be focused on legacy, not leverage,” he said. The precise status of the Saudi plan, fronted by Greg Norman, remains unclear after umpteen of the best players in the world stated a commitment to the PGA Tour.
We are in a position where no one can compete with what we have,” Monahan insisted. “The PGA Tour is moving on. We have too much momentum and too much to accomplish to be consistently distracted by rumours of other golf leagues and their attempts to disrupt our players, our partners, and most importantly our fans from enjoying the Tour and the game we all love so much.”
It has been confirmed Tiger Woods’s 14-year-old daughter, Sam, will introduce her father when he is inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Wednesday. Woods remains confident of competing again despite serious injuries sustained in a car crash early last year. “It feels like my career is not over yet,” Woods said.