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The big winner blows up the PGA Tour board structure

Lucas Glover at the Wells Fargo Championship last week.

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As the politicization of the future of men's professional golf becomes more heated and confused, the sport, at its highest levels, has turned into a hybrid A survivor again Succession. There are boards and committees, factions and loyalties, fights and dismissals – much of which has come up before this week's PGA Championship.

On Monday, Jimmy Dunne, who helped to secretly write the 2023 draft agreement between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, announced that he is stepping down from the board of the PGA Tour, which may have been the king last year, perhaps the only dealer trusted and respected not only by the management of the Tour and the most influential players but also PIF chief Yasir Al-Rumayyan. But as players' confidence in the Tour dwindled in the days and weeks after the June 6 deal, so did Dunne's negotiating power. He was taken out in a box.

Dunne's resignation — firing, actually — has been a hot topic this week in Louisville. Jordan Spieth called Dunne's departure “a loss.” Tiger Woods called the move “amazing,” adding that what Dunne “has been able to do on the PGA Tour has been great.” Seth Waugh, chief executive of the PGA of America and a former chief executive of Deutsche Bank, said of Dunne: “He's a thoughtful person and he's mature and obviously he has his reasons for what he's done. I wish his time, you know, was different than our chief's Monday.” (Patrick Cantlay, a board member who has denied rumors that he is leaving the board, did not hold a press conference before the tournament.)

It's a mixed reaction, which is what you might expect given the different landscape of men's golf in 2024. Dunne had at least one brave-faced name in his corner, Rory McIlroy. When McIlroy met with the media on Wednesday, he heard what had come L'Affair Dunne was itching to get some things off his chest. McIlroy called Dunne's resignation “a big loss for the PGA Tour, if they're trying to get this deal done with the PIF and trying to put the game together.” Jimmy was like that i relationship, a kind of channel between the PGA Tour and the PIF. It's been really unfortunate that he hasn't been involved in the last few months, and I think part of the reason everything is on hold at the minute is because of that. It's really disappointing, and you know, I think the Tour is in a worse place because of it. “

Waugh, speaking generally about the two sides' efforts to reach a deal, said the situation is “bad, and it has been, and it seems to be getting worse every week.” The messiness is, at least in part, caused by WHO, on the part of the PGA Tour, will ultimately determine the terms of the agreement. When Woods was appointed to the policy board last August, the players, for the first time, took a 6-to-5 majority of the board. Cantlay said that edge is not as important as it sounds, because “any major vote on any of the things we've been talking about requires a two-thirds majority.” But at least some of the Tour's rank and file aren't so sure, and one of them — 2009 US Open champion Lucas Glover — earlier this week wasn't shy about saying so.

“I'm probably going to upset my peers and other tour players by saying what I'm going to say…” Glover began, speaking on his SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio show; joining Glover, in a collaborative role, was his agent, Mac Barnhardt.

“For a long time there were many players on the board, five to four,” continued Glover. “And many players thought that it wouldn't be our trip if we didn't have the majority. Well, I think we see why that was now. We have many of them and we don't need to have more. Tour players play golf. Entrepreneurs run a business. They don't tell us how to hit a 7 iron. We should not tell them how to run a business. And we're running a business now. And we are all on the same team because this profit business that we are about to launch needs to be fixed. It needs to be right. And players who think they know more than Jimmy Dunne, players who think they know more than that [independent director] Ed Herlihy, players who think they know more than Joe Gorder [another independent director]Players who think they know more than Jay Monahan, when it comes to business, are wrong.”


Rory McIlroy speaks to the media Wednesday at the PGA Championship in Louisville, Ky.

Rory McIlroy calls sudden PGA Tour management changes 'concerning'


Josh Behow

Taking it right? Spieth, for one, would say no. On Tuesday, Spieth wasn't asked specifically about Glover's comments, but he was asked if he felt he and his fellow players had more control over the course of the tour.

Yes, Spieth said, the players have more voice and power than they did, say, five years ago, but not so much that they're rushing the joint down or putting the Tour in jeopardy. Spieth argued that “Tour management is in a good place,” adding that “the players on the PGA Tour can feel good about it, and not having the players make business decisions.” When you're in the room, it's pretty obvious that the players don't call the future of golf and the PGA Tour. Like, it needs to be, you need to have the perspective of everyone on both sides of you, and everyone involved within the Business. You have many strategic investors who know a lot more than the rest of us players.

“That is a false story that the players decide all these things.”

If so, Glover would need to believe something to believe otherwise. Here's what he said on his show:

“It's scary because we're about to launch a big, big, big business and a profitable company that all the players will have a part in, and we don't have the smartest people to help guide us. on the right path. That's scary.

“I am at my peak now and my future and that of my family depends on this, these decisions that are about to be taken. So that's why I decided a few months ago to start speaking out. But the nature of the board and how they will reach these decisions is now reversed. It's 100 percent off. … The proof is in the pudding, we had a chance to do this and it didn't happen. And now we are losing people who are very successful and have already done it frankly. “

Glover and Spieth's descriptions of the situation are so conflicting that you'd swear they were talking about two different deals. They are not, but their very different views are a lens into the thorn in the side of the men's game. Players have needs and wants. So, too, do tours. And TV partners. And sponsors. And finally, the most important place of all: the fans. Feeding all those mouths – and keeping those bellies fed – isn't easy. But decision makers must find a way to get there.

Waugh, who knows a thing or two about cutting deals, believes they will.

“I think both sides are committed not only to trying to reach an agreement but actually the need agreement,” he said on Wednesday. “And in my history of making a deal, when both sides need something to happen, it usually does.”

Alan Bastable Editor

As editor-in-chief of, Bastable is responsible for the editorial direction and voice of one of the game's most respected and heavily trafficked news and services outlets. He wears many hats – planning, writing, imagining, developing, dreaming in one day when he breaks 80 – and feels privileged to work with an insanely smart and hard-working team of writers, editors and producers. Before taking over, he was the features editor at GOLF Magazine. A graduate of the University of Richmond and the Columbia School of Journalism, he lives in New Jersey with his wife and four children.

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