Commissioner Jay Monahan says ultimate site will remain in Ponte Vedra.
Jay Monahan is a native of Boston who won’t forget his roots.
But after moving to the Jacksonville area in 2008 to work for the PGA Tour, the new commissioner of the Tour has taken a liking to his new home.
“Community pride is transferable and has been transferred to Jacksonville,” Monahan said Wednesday at the quarterly luncheon of JAXUSA Partnership at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront.
The PGA Tour is a global “multibillion-dollar” organization, he said, with offices in cities including New York, London, Tokyo and Seoul.
However, “our headquarters, our home is right here,” he said.
“It’s something we are extraordinarily proud of.”
The PGA Tour occupies space in 17 buildings in St. Johns County and is considering plans to consolidate its headquarters operations into one location.
Monahan said after the luncheon that the organization has not settled on a site.
“You’ve got to look at all of your options,” he said. “There’s a lot of work we have to do.”
But he did say the headquarters will stay in Ponte Vedra Beach.
“We’re extremely proud of our heritage here in Ponte Vedra Beach,” he said.
The PGA Tour recently filed a modification of the Development of Regional Impact for its property in and around the TPC Sawgrass golf club in Ponte Vedra, which was first approved in 1975.
The revised master plan would allow about 73 acres of multifamily residential buildings and about 140 acres of mixed-use development, but no specific plans have been proposed.
During the luncheon, Monahan said the property around the golf course was basically swampland before the PGA Tour decided to bring its headquarters there.
“TPC Sawgrass was not always the sprawling development you see today,” he said.
Monahan became commissioner in January. As an avid golfer, he said he has “the best job in all of sports.”
“This is a new job for me but I’m certainly not new to golf,” he said.
“It’s as natural for me as breathing.”
Monahan first came to the Tour as executive director of The Players Championship, the annual showcase tournament in Ponte Vedra Beach.
Monahan took charge of the tournament after it was moved from March to May in 2007, but the Tour announced last month it will move the event back to March in 2019.
The tournament has been successful in May, he said, but he doesn’t think moving it back will change anything.
“We certainly didn’t take this decision lightly,” he said.
“We feel strongly The Players now stands on its own as one of the premier events in the golf season.”
Monahan is encouraged about the future of golf because of the young stars currently playing on the Tour. He said 26 of 45 tournaments this year have been won by golfers under age 30.
He also said two golfers from PGA Tour China will be joining the regular Tour next year, which could grow interest in the sport in the world’s largest country.
“We now have a potential Yao Ming effect coming to the PGA Tour,” he said.
Yao Ming was a Chinese basketball star who became extremely popular when he came to the U.S. to play in the National Basketball Association.
The Tour is trying to engage younger fans by taking advantage of trends like social media. The Tour now encourages fans to use social media when attending tournaments.
“It’s hard to believe five years ago we didn’t let you bring a phone on-site,” Monahan said.
Monahan said the Tour last year became a pioneer in broadcasting events using Twitter.
“It’s a necessity we stay ahead of the curve and anticipate the next big thing,” he said.
“Our strength going forward is innovation. Innovation is the name of the game.”