CBS’ broadcast of the RBC Canadian Open PGA Tour event Sunday from drew some unusual attraction for several reasons. One of those was nothing to do with the event itself, but rather with the weather-and-playoff-caused overrun of the preceding LPGA Tour event, which raised some questions about why CBS was jumping to such early (relatively speaking) coverage of a PGA Tour event versus a concluding LPGA Tour playoff. But part of the appeal of that early coverage was from the reports that PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan would appear live on set for an interview.
That was Monahan’s first nationally-televised interview since this week’s debut event for the Saudi-owned rival LIV Golf Invitational Series, and the PGA Tour’s subsequent (but long-telegraphed) decision to suspend members who competed in that event. And while that eventual interview was quite interesting, it started with quite the awkward handshake attempt between CBS’ Jim Nantz and Monahan, with Nantz stretching his hand towards Monahan, Monahan interpreting that as a handshake and putting his own hand out there, Nantz withdrawing his hand, Monahan withdrawing his hand, and the two of them eventually meeting for a handshake:
Jay Monahan's interview with Jim Nantz got off to an awkward start with a failed handshake. pic.twitter.com/5TP33XQF33
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) June 12, 2022
Of course, while the handshake fail was funny, the substance of what Monahan said was certainly notable as well. In particular, he had a significant response to a question from Nantz on why Monahan doesn’t feel golfers should be able to compete in both PGA Tour and LIV Golf Invitational Series events:
“I guess I would answer the question by asking a question, ‘why do they need us so badly?'” Monahan said. “Those players have chosen to sign multi-year lucrative contracts to play in a series of exhibition matches against the same players over and over again.”
Monahan said that the best players in the game were at the RBC and that “true competition creates the profile of the world’s greatest players,” and that LIV Golf players continuing to play the PGA Tour would be to let them “freeride.”
“In protecting our loyal members, we can’t allow (LIV Golf) players to freeride off that,” he said.
Monahan was asked about LIV Golf’s Saudi Arabian backing and potential dilemmas for players who accepted guaranteed money to play.
“It’s not an issue for me, because I don’t work for the Saudi Arabian government. It probably is an issue for those players that chose to take that money,” Monahan said. “You have to ask the question … why? Why is this group spending so much money recruiting players and chasing a concept with no possibility of a return? How is this good for the game that we love?”
So there are plenty of serious discussions that can be had in the wake of Monahan’s conversation with Nantz. But it is funny that this started with a failed handshake.
[The Comeback on Twitter, Sports Illustrated]