PGA Tour top executive Andy Pazder abruptly resigns
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Andy Pazder abruptly resigned Tuesday from his role as a top PGA Tour executive, according to a memo sent to players just hours before their first formal meeting with Commissioner Jay Monahan since his return to work.
Pazder was the tour’s chief tournaments and competition officer, effectively overseeing all matters related to competition. He has been with the tour for the last 35 years.
The tour said in a memo that Pazder informed the tour of his decision to resign effective immediately. It offered no other details. Tyler Dennis, an executive vice president and president of the PGA Tour, is to assume his responsibilities.
The decision comes two weeks after Monahan appointed him to two task forces related to the proposed agreement with Saudi Arabia’s national wealth fund.
One involved the “Player Benefit Program,” such as how players would benefit financially from the agreement if it gets finalized by the end of the year. The other was to evaluate how LIV Golf players could return to the PGA Tour and the discipline they would face.
Serving on both task forces with Pazder was Jason Gore, a former PGA Tour winner recently elevated to the role of “chief player officer” and reporting directly to Monahan.
Pazder had been a key architect in several big changes over the years, such as the Korn Ferry Tour Finals that replaced the traditional qualifying tournament, and the new format at the Tour Championship in which the FedEx Cup leader starts with a two-shot lead.
Monahan stunned players and staff when he announced June 6 a deal to become partners with the Public Investment Fund, the backers of LIV Golf. He negotiated the framework agreement with two board members, and players weren’t aware until moments before it was announced.
A week later, Monahan took a leave citing a “medical situation.” He returned to work three weeks ago. Tuesday afternoon was his first formal meeting with players at the FedEx St. Jude Championship.
Monahan also said last week Tiger Woods had agreed to become a player-director on the PGA Tour board for the first time, the result of 41 players demanding a stronger voice in all big negotiations in the future.
Players were hopeful of more details on the Saudi deal. And while some players suggested Monahan’s resignation at a player meeting right after the deal was announced, emotions have cooled and he has earned the support of players like Woods and Jon Rahm.
British Open champion Brian Harman said earlier Tuesday one question he had for Monahan is why he agreed to the deal knowing he would take a hit because of the about-face.
“I believe that Jay had ultimate authority at all times as far as negotiating and stuff like that, and he knew that his reputation was going to take a major hit if they went forward,” Harman said. “My question would just be why didn’t he stop it, knowing that his reputation was going to take a hit?
“In my mind I think he believed that it was the best thing going forward, and that’s why he did it.”
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