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Jay Monahan: Big Man On PGA Tour

Jay Monahan, a 1993 graduate of Trinity College with a bachelor’s degree in history, is in his first year as PGA Tour commissioner. Monahan, a native of Belmont, Mass., played golf and hockey at Trinity and was an Academic-All American in his senior season.

The tour makes its first stop of the season in New England this week in the $ 6.8 million Travelers Championship at TPC River Highlands. Monahan answered questions by email.

Q: Growing up in Massachusetts and being a fan of the Red Sox, what record in major league baseball do you think is comparable to Jim Furyk’s tour record 58 that he shot in the final round of last year’s Travelers Championship?

Monahan: Knowing Jim didn’t birdie the par-5 13th or the short, par-4 15th, I’ve considered many times how close he was to shooting 57 and how fans were glued to his every swing early on a Sunday morning. I find that exciting and appreciate that as these athletes in all sports become even more dedicated to their professions, possibilities are endless. OK, maybe not Cy Young‘s 511 career wins. I’d call that an unbreakable record. But Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak resonates like shooting lower than 58, the new benchmark on the PGA Tour.”

Q:What would be the plusses for the tour if its FedEx Cup championship ended at or before Labor Day before the NFL and college football seasons really get going?

Monahan: It has been written about and talked about, and we’ve been told that if we ended the FedExCup playoffs before the NFL season began, it would give us ownership of August with season-ending big events. There’s merit to that, but people have to respect how much shifting that would require and how it takes time. We just haven’t made a decision yet.

Q: In January you were quoted as saying about the possibility of the PGA Championship moving from August to May, “That’s certainly something that we would like to see happen.” How would that benefit the tour and what is the latest update on the subject of a possible new date for that major?

Monahan: As we are always analyzing our schedule, so, too are [Chief Executive Officer of the PGA of America] Pete Bevacqua and the PGA of America going to assess their schedule. We all have a responsibility to work closely; this has got to work for everyone, including our media partners and tournaments. The PGA Championship in May or August is for Pete and the PGA of America to answer. The debate for March or May for The Players is an interesting one, but we shouldn’t lose sight of this: It performed well in March, and it has performed well in May because it’s the best field in golf and a tremendous tournament that gets better every year.

Q:With golf being more and more a global game, how important are Asia and Latin America to the tour and is it considering adding more tournaments there?

Monahan: Huge, which is why we’re invested with the PGA Tour LatinoAmerica and PGA Tour China and why we are firmly behind Olympic golf, which was in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and will be in Japan in 2020. Our Presidents Cup was a rousing success in South Korea in 2015, and now we have an official PGA Tour event on the schedule in Korea, the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES; and the tournament we hold in Malaysia, the CIMB Classic, has become very popular with our players and the fans in Southeast Asia. We now have two tournaments in Mexico, so we feel that we’re doing our due diligence and we accept that we have a responsibility to be part of the industry commitment to growing the game in these markets. But adding tournaments at a time when our schedule is already filled isn’t our focus right now.

Q: What values did you learn and continue to use from being on the Trinity College golf team and what impact did coach Bill Detrick have on you?

Monahan: Coach Detrick would always tell us, ‘Represent your family name that’s on your back well each and every day.’ So, we lost a tough match one day, and my brother Brendan and I were beating ourselves up when coach reminded us about the name on the back and that we had represented the family well and people had seen that. It had an impact on me. I’ve tried to adhere to his words every day, only now my family extends beyond the Monahans and Trinity to PGA Tour members and employees.

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