PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan is prepared to cut embattled Bryson DeChambeau some slack despite continuing controversy surrounding golf’s ‘Mad Scientist’.
Monahan hosted his now annual ‘State of the PGA Tour’ address to the media ahead of this week’s 2020/21 season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta. No sooner had Monahan spoken at length on the work of the Tour this past season and also what golf fans the world over can look forward to heading into a new season, he was facing questions over a ‘new’ controversy involving DeChambeau.
After both DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka seemingly buried their hatchet following their very public feud, DeChambeau incurred the wrath of print media in firstly not choosing to speak last Thursday post his BMM Championship opening round of 60 but also blanking press in losing out in Sunday’s memorable play-off to Patrick Cantlay.
Of course, there was an incident late on Sunday ahead of the eventual play-off with DeChambeau ‘having a go’ at Cantlay for moving when he was looking to play a shot on 14. And you could hardly say DeChambeau was very sportsmanlike after having played 24 holes in the company of Cantlay last Sunday by his manner of congratulating Cantlay or more-to-the-point ,not congratulating his now Ryder Cup teammate.
“I’ve talked to Bryson about a lot of things and obviously our preference would be to have him talking to the media, you know, and on a regular basis, and certainly in that instance when he has a historic performance,” said Monahan.
“But like I said, we’re in the situation we’re in right now. I don’t, I’m hopeful that that will not be the case on a long-term basis, and I think that sometimes as hard as it is to contemplate and understand, I think human beings and individuals need some space, and I think that’s what’s going on right now.
“And as I said, I think when we look at this over the long run, I think that this is something that he’ll get through. He’ll get to the other side of it and he’ll be better for it. But that’s my perspective on it. It’s not binary, you know, he’s working through it in a way that he feels is best for him and he knows he has my and our support.”
Monahan was asked, as in the practice in tennis, if the Tour would consider fining a player should he not meet his media obligations.
“I would just say to you, in any instance, we’re always going to focus on the player, the relationship with the player, understanding the player, trying to work with them to get to the right place and try and understand what’s going through their heads,” said Monahan.
“As for a fine? I’m not sure what that is going to do for us in the long run. Ultimately, we want the player presenting his best self when he’s in front of the media, when he’s in front of fans, and that’s ultimately the goal for any player that’s in a situation like that.”
Monahan found himself also being asked to comment on the whole change in DeChambeau’s entire make-up since the return to competition from the Covid-19 lockdown on June 11th last year awith the head of the Tour also singling out DeChambeau for the work he’s doing behind the scenes to promote the game of golf.
“I think that your question and observation is a good one and I don’t know if, I’ve been thinking a lot about this, I don’t know, since we returned to golf, I don’t know of a player that’s gone through a metamorphosis like Bryson has in such a short period of time, and he’s continuing to push himself, to challenge conventional wisdom, to find unique ways to improve his game and create a difference in his game, and with it, and with the, with becoming a star, a superstar, a global presence, that brings new responsibilities,” said Monahan.
“And that’s not something everybody’s prepared for in their life. That’s something that you grow into. And that’s what he’s doing. And by the way, he’s done a lot of things exceptionally well. You watch him interact with kids, you look at the care he takes in youth golf. Look at him going out and competing in a long drive contest.
“There’s so many wonderful things he’s doing to shine a light on our game and to me this is, and I know it feels bigger to everybody else in this call, in the grand scheme of things, this is a moment in time and it’s not as large, to me, it’s something that he’s going to, he’s doing so many wonderful things, I don’t think it should take away from all that great work and it’s not going to.”