Monday Notebook: PGA Tour's Swing And A Miss, Steph, Arch And Tipping

THE PLAYERS Championship - Previews

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PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan went on live TV during the Canadien Open and came across like an angry guy who thought it was best to call the LIV Golf a "series of exhibitions", emphasis "Saudi money" part of LIV and even brought 9/11 into the conversation with Jim Nantz.

First, give Monahan and CBS credit for recognizing it needed to address the biggest issue in golf and not pretend LIV does not exist. (Quick sidenote: after offering no news on the golf or leaderboard for LIV's debut event, ESPN shifted to posting stories about the tournament and listing a leaderboard) But instead of smiling confidently and boasting about the field, crowd and amazing leaderboard for the Canadian Open, Monahan looked depressed, defeated and did little to change that look.

Jay, here's what you could have said:

"Jim, the PGA Tour is and will be the best place for the best players to play golf. Our tour offers the greatest platform for players to earn their tour card and compete for incredible purses that are involved with wonderful charities that help the communities we play in. Our tour is getting bigger and better and we are blessed to have not just great players, but great leaders and ambassadors of the sport. We listen and work with our players because they help us help the game grow globally. For those that have chosen to give up their tour card, that is their right and wish them well. For those that have violated the tour's policies on playing in tournaments, we must protect the bylaws the tour has and create a workplace where all parties understand why the rules are the rules and it's my job to oversee that. The tour needs the players and we hope the players recognize that they need the tour and we are better in working together. The future has never been brighter and we have great confidence the players will benefit from the plans we continue to work on and could not be more optimistic about where we are going."

Nope. Not what Monahan did. And when he was asked by Jim Nantz why he and the tour gave a long list of players an exemption to play in a February event in.....Saudi Arabia, he stumbled through an answer about it being a "sanctioned event" and it was not about a competing tour. The event Monahan and the PGA Tour gave players an exemption to play in was the $5M Public Investment Fund Saudi International. Harold Varner III won the $1M first place check. The tournament also included: Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Tony Finau, Patrick Reed and Bryson DeChambeau. The tour gave the exemption with a catch. The same week of the Saudi event was one of the PGA Tour's most treasured non-major tournaments: Pebble Beach. Players who played Pebble Beach at least once in the previous five years could play in the Saudi event as long as they committed to play at Pebble Beach again in either 2023 or 2024. 

The February Saudi event was part of the Asian Tour, which has a partnership with the PGA Tour...well, they may have had a partnership. Click on Asian Tour on twitter (@AsianGolfTour) and take a look at what event dominated their twitter timeline last week. Hint: it wasn't the Canadian Open. It was the LIV tournament in England. Oh, and the tournament sponsor of that event in February- the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. The fund is controlled by the Saudi government and controlled by the Crown Prince.

I don't like the "connect the dots" game because you can create any picture of hypocrisy you want. But Monahan is right to enforce the rules of the PGA but he should talk about what's great about the tour and that it has so many great players. He needs to internally address the issues players have and be proactive in working with Rory, Justin, Jordan and the dozens and dozens who have chosen to stay with the greatest tour in the world. LIV has bought a few stars but their path to relevance remains challenged over TV coverage and lack of depth in the field.

Monahan cannot control the narrative at the US Open this week and Phil, who speaks today to the media, will have his spin as will other LIV golfers but Monahan has his roster of stars that will make his case. But Monahan should come across confident, in control, a visionary and trust his star power to win the long game. If not, he will be a major reason LIV gets coverage it has yet to earn... 

Game five of the NBA Finals is tonight. We have had games decided by 12, 19, 16 and 10. That's not exactly a thrilling series. The series has given us the classic media/fans debate after each game of what is wrong with the losing team. After game one and Boston's win in San Francisco, everyone told us the Warriors were in trouble. The same thing happened after game three. Now we have a best-of-three and that is good for us. Here's the deal about tonight, no one knows what will happen. Both teams have made adjustments in each game but all losing teams in the first four games have had players underperform. Side stat for Steph Curry: in the 2016 season Curry has 402 three pointers. In 1992, the Bulls won the second of their first three title streak. That year in the NBA not a single team made more than 371 total threes that season and Steph's 402 threes was more than four teams attempts all season....

Arch Manning took an official recruiting visit to Alabama this weekend. If you don't follow recruiting(and I don't), this was a big deal. Manning is visiting Texas this weekend and has been to Georgia. The nephew of Peyton and Eli is said to be the "can't miss" kid and who he chooses will be a major story. NIL or pay-for-play won't be a deciding factor here. The family is doing pretty well to start and wherever Arch lands he will likely become one of the biggest stars and benefit from his position as a starting quarterback for one of the biggest brands in the sport. Georgia and Alabama likely have the starting job open next season(2023) but in Texas, the Longhorns have given the keys of Steve Sarkisian's offense to Quinn Ewers. The Texas high school star went to Ohio State before bouncing to Texas. His transfer was celebrated across the state and Longhorns actually believe they have a real QB. So why would Arch Manning go there? And that's the beauty of all this. My money(see what I did there?) is on Alabama. I still think Saban sells the vision of three years running their pro style offense to prepare for the NFL Draft. But what do I know?...

Nuggets: Frenchy's Clearwater grouper you will find and eat dinner then watch the sunset on the cool sand and enjoy life...Tennessee baseball was the best team in college baseball all season and led the nation on home runs and ERA and built a reputation that many in the sport loved to hate. They played with an attitude/arrogance that wore on opponents and fans. Many celebrated Notre Dame's win in game three of the Knoxville Super Regional. It's another season where the nation's top seed will not get to Omaha...The Rangers lost to the Lightning and as a fan the end of a season stinks but the Rangers were fun to watch and I love their future. But the Lightning are amazing and may win a third straight Stanley Cup. They are the best team in the NHL and one of the best organizations in professional sports in this country. Colorado is well rested before the Final begins but Tampa Bay is too good, too experienced and will hoist the Cup again...Twice this weekend my wife and I ate out at a restaurant where they have the device to let you pay at the table and the server puts your card into the device and holds the device as you are asked to enter a tip. I like the privacy of leaving a tip. Both times this weekend the server is staring at me and the pressure is mounting. Who doesn't overtip in that situation?

Final note: The average American left a tip of 15% in 2021 when dining out but tipping saw an increase on delivery to almost 20%.

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