by Emilie Carmolinga: 2019 AT&T Byron Nelson Junior Reporter
When I found out I was meeting Jay Monahan, PGA TOUR Commissioner, I was so nervous but also excited. I thought he was going to be a boring adult who was going to talk about numbers and things I wouldn’t understand or care about, but I am proud to say that he was actually a really interesting and funny guy. He is also proud to be PGA Tour Commissioner.
The interview with Jay Monahan included me, my fellow Junior Reporter Andrew, and Miss Whidden, our editor. These are the seven questions we asked:
Andrew: When you were a kid, did you ever think you’d grow up to be a top guy in golf?
“I did not. When I was a kid, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be but I knew that I had some time to think about it. I went through college before I knew I would end up working for a professional golf company.”
Emilie: I am shy. I read that you have great people skills. Where does that come from?
“I like being with people. I am curious about people and I want to learn more about them. We all have different comfort levels with people. I am truly shy, but I am also curious. I get my curiosity from my mother.”
Andrew: How do you handle stress? Do you ever need to just take a breath?
“I try and keep everything in perspective: relationships, work, the fact that there’s no time to do everything. I accept that we’ll always have stress. I think about how long I have to resolve a problem. If I have time, then I’m going to lengthen out the time I give myself to find a solution. You have to embrace stress. I learned today about how you do breathing here. I’ve never really worked on my breathing. I should do that.”
Emilie: Have you ever attended the AT&T Byron Nelson?
“I have been to the tournament five times even though I live in Florida. All the things it does for Momentous gives me pride.”
Andrew: What do you wish more kids knew about the sport?
“That it can teach you about really important values like honesty, sportsmanship and integrity. You can play it for your whole life, and you meet new people who can change your life. Honesty comes in for the scorecard. You have to play by the rules. These rules are about 100 years old, and it’s a nice tradition.
Andrew: What brought you to accepting the job of Commissioner, and how do you think you’re being a Changemaker?
“It’s the Board of Directors who decides who will run the company, and they picked me. We have over 800 people at this company, all working together to create positive change for the PGA TOUR, and for the game of golf. I think as much about the fans as I do about the sport. The market is very competitive in that there’s lots of different sports for people to choose from. We have over 45 different events each year. We need to have a fan-first mentality. For example, four years ago we didn’t allow fans to bring their cell phones on to the golf course. Now they can. One year ago, we didn’t allow fans to take video and share it. Now we do. We’ve had to be flexible. It’s all about giving more than taking.”
Emilie: What’s the best and worst part of your job?
“The best part of my job is meeting great people and seeing the impact of our company. The worst part is being away from my wife and soon to be 16 and 13 year old daughters.”
Emilie: That sounds tough. How do you handle being away from your family?
“I call them every day. We exchange texts. And when I get home, I focus on them, attend their various events and show that I care.”
We finished the interview. Andrew complimented the Commissioner on his necktie. It had giraffes on it. Mr. Monahan shared that it was from his mother, and that she always bought him giraffe neckties, encouraging him to “stick his neck out.”
It was a great experience to meet Commissioner Monahan. I especially liked his point about giving more than taking. Lots of adults say this to me, but he seemed so sincere. It was memorable for me.