PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan takes medical depart

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan is taking a leave of absence as he recuperates from a medical condition, the organization said in a statement late Tuesday, just days after the tour announced a deal to merge business interests with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf league.

“Jay Monahan informed the PGA Tour Policy Board that he is recuperating from a medical situation,” the tour said in a statement. “The board fully supports Jay and appreciates everyone respecting his privacy.”

The tour did not specify the nature of his medical condition nor a timetable to return. It will provide further updates “as appropriate,” the tour added.

The news of Monahan’s health problems comes at a critical time. The PGA Tour and LIV Golf announced last week their decision to merge business operations to create a new golf entity with money from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. During Monahan’s absence, the tour said executives Ron Rice and Tyler Dennis will lead the day-to-day operations.

In a statement Wednesday, the PIF said it was informed of Monahan’s medical situation and that it wishes him a speedy recovery.

“We are committed to working closely with the PGA leadership and Board to advance our previously announced transaction to invest significantly in the growth of golf for the benefit of players, fans and the expansion of the game around the world,” it added.

State of play

The agreement followed months of litigation and tensions between the golf organizations, prompting doubts about whether the two sides can ultimately pull off a merger.

Powerful Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut opened an investigation into the agreement. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on Wednesday urged the Justice Department to open an antitrust investigation into the matter.

Monahan himself has faced intense criticism over the deal.

There are also unresolved questions about guarantees for equity and pay for PGA Tour players who had turned down lucrative deals from LIV during the two organizations’ legal battle. The tour had banned players who left for LIV.

Players may be looking to hire their own investment bank to advise them as they seek to share in a potential payday if the deal closes, CNBC’s David Faber reported Wednesday.

The PGA Tour is in Los Angeles for the US Open, one of the sport’s major championships. It’s scheduled to kick off Thursday.

– CNBC’s David Faber contributed to this report.

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