The only negative on Jay Monahan’s resume? Why of course, he is Tim Finchem’s hand-picked successor.
Nothing against Commissioner Coterminous. Really. He navigated the PGA Tour through some swampy times and leaves a fine legacy on many fronts, but especially in providing his membership playing opportunities. But times are changing, threats loom and openings exist to re-imagine elements of the mostly-healthy PGA Tour "product".
As with Adam Silver moving into David Stern’s NBA Commissionership and Major League Baseball's Rob Manfred taking over for Bud Selig, Monahan has been positioned to enjoy similar success possibilities of those two recently-appointed leaders. Thanks to his ascension through a myriad of jobs and the core model of the tour in good shape thanks to Finchem, Monahan enters at a good time to refine what pro golf looks like and to enhance the tour's stewardship role in the game.
For a young guy (46) he’s got a lengthy résumé. That could be interpreted as the sign of someone who either (A) can’t sit still, or (B) was building an experienced pathway to a complex job like PGA Tour Commissioner. I side with option B and give Monahan benefit of the doubt because he’s imminently likable, making him a personality that allows him to receive job offers with regularity.
Highlights of Monahan’s career to date, with commentary:
—Division III Academic All-American golfer at Trinity College: He could play the game at one time, which never hurts with players who respect such ability.
—Masters of Science in Sport Management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1995: He knows how to use B-speak.
—Account Supervisor at Arnold Advertising, handling Titleist and FootJoy Worldwide's advertising business: Okay, so rolling back the ball might be a tougher sell.
—Director, Global Sponsorships and Branding Programs at EMC Corporation: When they had the Skills Challenge, which, I think many of us kind of miss and might be the kind of alternative format idea the tour needs to be open to going forward.
—Executive Director of the Deutsche Bank Championship: has experience on the ground running a tournament, never a bad thing in a climate where tournament directors are not exactly unanimous members of The Tim Finchem Marching And Chowder Society.
—EVP at Fenway Sports Group. Knows sports, loves sports and has worked in sports besides golf. This has always felt like a blind spot for Finchem, who never seemed like a serious sports fan.
— Co-founded Golf Fights Cancer, with fellow Fenway executive Brian Oates. Has a heart!
—Tournament Director of The Players Championship. More tournament operations experience, which will help him justify the event's move back to March, opening up the PGA Championship to some day be played in May. Or something like that.
—Deputy Commissioner of the PGA Tour starting in 2014: reportedly never once dropped Tim Finchem’s garment bag in that time, always picked out the best ties for his boss and never ran out of hand sanitizer.
—COO of the PGA Tour. Already has essentially started the job and has begun moving in his preferred lieutenants.
I’m sure there are other elements to his career missing here, but you get the idea.
Jay Monahan has worked in golf and sports from the ground up.
He does not hold a law degree. These are good things.