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Jay Monahan's Golf Digest My Shot On Playoffs, The Value Of League-Owned Networks, Slow Play

New PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan spoke to Guy Yocom for another excellent Golf Digest My Shot and while I always urge you to read the full interview, a couple of comments stood out.

Much to chew on in this first one:

WHAT DO I ADMIRE MOST ABOUT OTHER MAJOR-LEAGUE SPORTS? Two things. One, the way the NFL, MLB, the NBA and the NHL conclude their seasons. I love where we are with the FedEx Cup, but keep in mind it's only 10 years along, is still evolving, and we're always on the lookout for ways to sharpen our postseason-playoff structure.

Oh yes, the playoffs are definitely ending before Labor Day. But those sports also conclude their seasons with much more compelling playoff formats, so let's hope this is more than just a calendar adjustment.

Two, I admire the way they build and market their brands through their own networks. Having a 24/7 presence has served those sports very, very well.

Someone wants his own network!

While those networks were all essentially offspring to the Golf Channel and have been successful to some degree, has the 24/7 presence of the MLB Network really sold that many more seats or created new fans? And is that a risk worth taking, or just a negotiating ploy for 2021 when the current Golf Channel deal ends?

As for slow play, like his predecessor, he's punting for now:

WHICH TAKES US TO THE SUBJECT OF SLOW PLAY. I don't see a problem with rounds on our tour taking four hours, 45 minutes, because it's been consistent around that number for a long time. What drives the small amount of criticism is the impulse in the modern world to do everything faster than we did it last year. So am I going to push for faster rounds? As it stands, no.

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Reader Comments (24)

He will start to see a problem with that time when the tournaments start finishing outside the TV windows and the networks balk. They have schedules to keep, and while a playoff may be an acceptable reason to go over, being on the 16th hole on a sunny day is not.
03.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterPat(another one)
MLB, NFL networks only serve to PO fans. Bad idea, Jay.

03.15.2017 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
So sayeth commercial ad revenue. Jay is sharp, though. He didn't miss how the USGA handled the driving distance nonissue. Translation: The time it takes to play a round has been consistent for a long time. As for that "impulse" thing, most of us learn to control them as we age. Wait until the grow the game target hears Jay took a swipe at them.
03.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
When the PGA Tour starts it's own network, and they will, you can say buh bye to Golf Channel!
03.15.2017 | Unregistered Commenternext move
Golf takes too long to play to drive any significant participation growth, is boring to watch due to so much time between action, and is too costly. The garden variety CC player plays in a foursome and finishes in 4 hours, and most times less, and they all say that it takes too long as well... So yes, stick your head in the sand, PGA Tour, USGA, et al, and continue watching the decline of the game, or at least, no growth...
03.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKim Russell
League networks- Talk about complete snooze fests. Terrible channels.

Tweak the playoff. Fine, whatever. You have 4 great compelling weekends and probably 4-5 other good ones. You killed off a former major (Western Open) for more corporate junk. It is a tough balance for now chasing the corporate dollars vs. fans. Diehard fans loved the tour championship. I guess the goal is to get casual fans into the capstone event. Again, tall order, and not working after a decade. Do casual fans watch the NASCAR "Chase?" Nope. Watch Daytona, Talladega, etc.

No slow play addressing? Horrendous. 2 players taking longer than 4 hours? Embarrassing. Caddy/player discussion to fill the void? Closing eyes to visualize? Yawn. It is the crotch grabbing and spitting of golf.

Have some fun. Get some prime time night golf, 9 hole matches. Maybe a coed one or two. Put a shot clock on it. Mix it up a bit. Battle of Bighorn was great, and was the one or two times non golfers talked about golf besides the majors.
03.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterMJR
I read the interview and can see why this guy moved up the food chain. He speaks in measured tones using business speak to massage his "customers". It is an interesting bubble top managers live in. They rarely address specific issues head on in public and always shroud themselves with enough ambiguity so they can wiggle out of having to take responsibility for the thing they are paid outrageous money to manage. Behavior like this is in golf has lead to the comical drone of bomb and gouge golf with more and more commercials - not much of a "product" to sell.
03.15.2017 | Unregistered Commentermunihack
If Jay Monahan is an "enemy" of the "anti-slow-play Nazis", then he is a friend of mine. The best golfer in history, Nicklaus, was a "deliberate", calculating, and cerebral player. If you want fast play and action, take up Ice Hockey.
03.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterGutta Percha

You said it perfectly.
03.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterBill Shamleffer
Bit disappointing to hear him say slow play wasn't an issue. It most certainly is an issue for everyday fans and participants of the game. It gets top billing as one of the major deterrents (along with cost) as reasons why people don't play more often. Amateurs take their cues from the professionals and if its OK for a tour player to take 4.75 hrs to play a round then the average Joe thinks its OK too.

When it comes to watching golf on TV, it's not an issue for me too often - as I usually DVR the coverage and watch it later - sans commercials. I might be more compelled to watch the leaders on the back 9 live if they could play the 9 holes in under 2 hours.
03.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterSaltwater Golfer
Munihack with one of the better posts I've seen on this site.
munihack - I live it every day. high levels of management are more acting than anything else. it lasts until it does't. eventually the empty suits are exposed.
03.15.2017 | Unregistered Commentergoing low
Munihack wins the interwebs today! +1
03.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterJohnnnycz
There's more insight in munihack's post than in all of what we've heard from Finchem & Co. in many years.
03.15.2017 | Unregistered Commenter3foot1
@MJR: I like certain league-owned channels. I'm a hockey fan. I can watch the hockey-specific replay show late at night and get all the highlights without wasting my time with other sports I don't follow: baseball, football, most notably. Not sure it works for golf/PGAT, though.
03.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterThe O
I disagree with some of what munichack says. Monanhan hits it right on the head when he explains "selling" philosophy. It is exactly what makes media and most other sales successful. His family ethic is to be admired. I do agree he should address the slow play issue more seriously. And the idea of an all golf network is a bad one.
03.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterTLB
The No. 1 question for Mr. Monahan is what will the Tour schedule look like if Federal Express does not renew? Seems the Tour has everything tied up & revolving around FedEx money.
Could be the start of smaller purses & less corporate sponsorship. Just saying the Tour & golf has peaked & in recession.
03.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterTtalk
On the slow play issue...everything is crowded on the's not just golf. Everything takes longer or is more crowded. Restaurants, movie theaters, malls, tennis courts, sporting events and other participating activities. Multiple bass fishing tournaments along with all skiing/personal water craft at every lake..every weekend. It's going to take longer. That's never going to change. Golf is going to take longer on the weekends...when most people play it.
03.15.2017 | Unregistered Commentermarmooskapaul
Munihack nailed it. One of the reasons I no longer watch golf other than to "check in" on a major. I doubt I'm alone. Golf can stay in the cocoon or not, their choice. The pursuit of greater relevance or audience ain't happening with that stance though.
03.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterOriginal AG
I cannot see the Tour making a change on pace unless the networks say it's an issue or many top player band together to say it is. Seeing as at least 2 of the top 5 are turtles, not happening soon.
Hey Mr Commissioner, how about challenging the networks to make the broadcast better? More shots, less putting.
More context, "he wants to drive it to the left side for a better angle to this pin, and show why.
Maybe some split screens, showing the shot and it position on the hole.
Not just one feature group, how about 2 or even 3? Not difficult if you reduce coverage of the preshot routines and gimmes.
I sit in frustration many weeks watching the putting contest on tv, it is not mini putt.
03.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKG
Not his job to fix TV broadcasts. Or slow play. Or bomb-and-gouge golf. Oh, we'd like it to be part of his job. But his real job is to keep the cash flowing to Ponte Vedra Beach and into players' pockets. And none of the aforementioned issues take one cent from that job, so of course he's just going to give lip service. He's the commissioner of the PGA Tour, not golf's Gandhi.
03.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterJohn
"...not much of a "product" to sell."

Munihack rants and raves and waves his hands above his head like an angry swan, but he completely whiffs when swinging at a fastball of a Halloween pumpkin pitched straight down the middle of the plate, all this with a tennis racket in his hand....

..."almost like he never played 3rd base before in his life"...

The PGA Tour "product" is selling unlike any other golf related "product" has ever sold in the history of golf related "product" sales. Run-of-the-mill PGA Tour pro's who manage to stay on the PGA Tour for 15 years are retiring with pensions that will keep 3 generations draped in velvet. Everything related to the financials of the PGA Tour continues to exceed expectations year after year after year after year after year after...

...year after year after year after year after year...

...yet Munihack bloviates that the PGA Tour doesn't have a "product" to "sell".

Too funny...
03.15.2017 | Unregistered CommenterDonnie W.
Munihack 2020. Murrica needs STRONG, DECISIVE Leadership
A pumpkin against a tennis racquet? Given the mass of each The racquet stands no chance and neither does thinly-veiled ad hominem.

Munihack did not say there was 'no product,' he said 'not much of a product' ie the antecedent of the phrase is bomb-and-gouge golf. It was a clever, but ultimately futile, attempt to put words in his mouth when his position is clear even to those who disagree: bomb-and-gouge golf is mostly uninteresting and that the Tour and its broadcasters are faced with diminishing returns however lucrative the status quo has been for all concerned.
03.26.2017 | Unregistered CommenterPatchy

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