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How can the PGA Tour give LIV Golf players a path back?

How can the PGA Tour give LIV Golf players a path back?

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — When it comes to delivering his message, Jay Monahan is more mechanic than missionary, at ease in a boardroom but less so in the pulpit. He is defensive by disposition, on record as saying that he wakes each day thinking that someone is trying to steal his lunch. Meeting the press at the Players Championship, the PGA Tour commissioner’s words suggested he knows the tide has turned in his favor in the war with LIV Golf. His body language, however, hinted at a man who might consider a padlock in a sock among his negotiating tools, a slouchy wariness spiked with a faint whiff of almost amiable menace.

Like most executives, Monahan is disinclined to tackle speculative questions. What has happened, or what will happen, is fair game. What might happen is for backroom conversations, particularly in the charged environment in which Monahan now exists. At TPC Sawgrass, he swatted away those abstract inquiries with a practiced hand.

“Getting into hypothetical situations given where we currently are is not a worthwhile effort,” he replied when asked about the possibility of merging with LIV, against which the Tour is locked in bitter litigation. “I think any other hypotheticals are just not worth talking about.”

“I know this is hypothetical,” another questioner began gamely, asking about the status of the DP World Tour’s arbitration case as it seeks to bar LIV-allied players from its events.

“I can’t speak to, you know, what’s happening with the resolution panel,” Monahan said. “I’m going to leave that for you guys to understand, and I’m not going to comment on it.”

The third such query he fielded was on how the PGA Tour might handle requests to return by players who have defected to LIV.

“The players that are playing on that Tour are contractually obligated to play on that Tour, so any hypotheticals at this point really aren’t relevant, and I think you know me well enough to know I’m not a big fan of hypotheticals,” he responded. “But our position, to answer your question directly, has not changed.”

Experience has taught Monahan that the problem with hypotheticals is that they often become theticals. So while the Tour’s position hasn’t changed, it will.

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