Jay Monahan: No plans to bring major to Sawgrass over coronavirus concerns

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. (2017 Getty Images)

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan tackled a variety of topics on Tuesday at The Players Championship, everything from coronavirus precautions to the future of the World Golf Hall of Fame to where he sees the future of the tournament heading to.

He also denied rumors that TPC Sawgrass could potentially serve as host for this year’s PGA Championship as fears about the coronavirus run rampant. TPC Harding Park in San Francisco is where the major will be held.

Monahan added that courses have to be prepared to lend a hand during times of “extraordinary circumstances,” but that event is planning on staying put and being played there.

“And so, there is no plan at this point in time for the PGA Championship to be held here. It’s going to be held at TPC Harding Park,” Monahan said.

The coronavirus situation remains fluid and Monahan said that the Tour has a unit in place to respond and take action accordingly should things change. The Tour’s WGC Dell Match Play in Austin, Texas in two weeks is a tournament that Monahan said is on the “focus list,” as one to watch.

The city of Austin canceled SXSW, one of the largest tech, music and entertainment festivals in the country, due to concerns about the coronavirus.

“At this point, I think everybody is planning on moving forward full speed ahead, exercising their tournaments, but also keeping an open eye and an open mind to the information that’s coming their way,” Monahan said.

Monahan touched on the futures of two things with area ties – the financial future of The Players and the World Golf Hall of Fame.

The purse for The Players was raised to $15 million last January and Monahan sees that number nearly doubling over the next 10 to 15 years. The Players purse was $12 million in 2017.

“Listen, here we were excited to move to a $15 million purse. I see us getting to $25 million, and I see that certainly through the term, if not earlier in the term,” he said.

The future of the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine was also a topic. The Tour is locked into the facility that the Hall of Fame is currently in for roughly two more years. The Class of 2021 will be elected on Wednesday.

Could the Tour consider moving the current setup?

“I think that building has served the Hall of Fame exceedingly well in St. Augustine and may continue to be the case. But with the world changing and the world, the way people consume media, consume content, we want to make certain that we come out the back end of this that we’ve done everything we can to celebrate the incredible accomplishments of everybody that’s in the Hall of Fame. So, we’re looking at a lot of different options, and we haven’t settled on where we’re going to be at this point.”

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