Skip to main content

Viktor Hovland Blasts PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan: ‘Take Some Ownership’

Viktor Hovland typically keeps his tone neutral and his comments brief when asked about the state of professional golf and the PGA Tour. But that all changed in December when the Norwegian went on the record to dispel rumors of his departure to LIV Golf and criticize PGA Tour management. At a press conference ahead of the Players Championship, he once again took a firm stance on the matter.

In the wake of Xander Schauffele’s criticism of PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, Hovland was asked where his confidence levels stand with the Tour’s current leadership. While the No. 4-ranked player in the world admitted that he simply “plays golf for a living” and doesn’t have all the answers, he stated that he nonetheless believes Monahan has made some significant misjudgments. Hovland is particularly upset that the commissioner hasn’t owned up to them.

Viktor Hovland of Norway plays his tee shot on the first hole during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard at Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Golf Course on March 10, 2024 in Orlando, Florida.

Viktor Hovland has been increasingly critical of the PGA Tour as it continues to adapt. 

“There were some things that were said that have been walked back on and then things have been very contradictory,” Hovland said. “As a leader of an organization, I will want a person like that to take some ownership and say, hey, we made a couple of mistakes, but this is how we’re going to rectify it, instead of kind of sweeping it under the rug, which I felt like has been done to a certain degree.

“I don’t mind people making mistakes. We all make mistakes. But I think when you make a mistake you got to own up to it and say, hey, we’re trying to do better here, and this is how we’re going to do it.”

Hovland didn’t get into specifics on which particular “mistakes” he was referring to, although he seemed to align with several players who did not appreciate being left in the dark when the June 6 framework agreement was announced between the PGA Tour, the Saudi Public Investment Fund and the DP World Tour. 

Players were not consulted prior to the announcement of the deal—which is still in the midst of negotiations—and that disconnect triggered intense backlash. 

“I just think there has to be some reconciliation between, O.K., it's a member organization where the leadership is representing the membership, and then decisions are being made without the players knowing about these decisions, or even having the information present, then I think there has to be some transparency between that to at least save some face and saying that, hey, we represent the players and this is a membership organization or a players organization. I think those two lines have to be reconciled a little bit better,” Hovland said. 

The Oklahoma State product also addressed the PGA Tour’s new elevated event model, acknowledging Lucas Glover’s fiery comments on the structure. Glover was deeply critical of the small-field, big-money tournament model: “Nothing that has happened in the last two or three years in my opinion will help the game,” he said. 

Hovland's view seemed to parallel the former U.S. Open champion's. 

“These Signature Events, for example, they have been great for the players that are in the tournaments," he said. "I don't know if that's necessarily what the fans want to watch. I don't know if it's long-term going to produce a better product or not. I hear the arguments for it, I hear the arguments against it, so I haven't given it too much thought.

“Yeah, certainly I've read Lucas Glover's comments last week where he said having the smaller field sizes are not making it more competitive. Yes, you're getting the best players to play, the top guys to show up, but the fields are more competitive when you have bigger field sizes. I think that's just the fact. There's a reason why we're playing the Players Championship with 144 guys.

“But at the end of the day, I don't know what the fans want to watch. Do they want to watch these limited field sizes or do they want to watch the bigger sizes, I really don't know. So, yeah, I just don't know what trajectory we're on.”