PGA: Jordan Spieth talks Jimmy Dunne resigning, ‘false narrative’ about board

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Jordan Spieth said Jimmy Dunne’s resignation from the PGA Tour policy board was a surprise while disagreeing with the notion that the board is becoming more “player-driven.”

Spieth spoke to reporters Tuesday at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., ahead of this week’s PGA Championship. Dunne made his resignation official on Monday, saying in a letter he saw his role was “utterly superfluous” while “no meaningful progress has been made towards a transaction with the PIF.”

Dunne is the figure who set up the initial “framework” deal for a merger of the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

“I think Jimmy Dunne not being involved when he was involved is a loss,” Spieth said. “I’ve spoken with him just he and I quite a few times over the last few months and had really good conversations, and when he explains kind of how everything went about since he came on the board, it makes a lot of sense to me. So I was a bit surprised, for sure.”

Spieth is one of six player directors on the PGA Tour policy board, joined by Patrick Cantlay, Peter Malnati, Adam Scott of Australia, Webb Simpson and Tiger Woods. Joe Ogilvie, a former pro golfer turned money manager, is on the board as a “director liaison.”

In the wake of the framework agreement with Saudi Arabia blindsiding PGA Tour members, the tour agreed to make changes, which included adding Woods as a sixth player director. But Spieth told reporters they have “got to stop saying” the board is player-driven.

“It’s balanced in a way that at least from what I’ve heard the investors, Tour management and independents feel it should be,” Spieth said. “I think we’re in a place where that’s the case — we’re being told that this is how it should be as well. It went from a lot less players to a balanced board.”

The policy board remains a key group of individuals as it pertains to the future of men’s golf. There is a separate board for PGA Tour Enterprises, the new for-profit entity that has entered an investment partnership with Strategic Sports Group. And the policy board created a “transaction subcommittee” specifically for negotiating with the PIF, featuring Woods, Scott and Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy.

While it can look like professional golfers trying to run a business, Spieth said that’s a “false narrative.”

“I think we’re going to be at a really, really good place where the players can feel really good about — players on the PGA Tour can feel really good about it, as well as not having players making business decisions,” Spieth said. “… If you’re in the room, it’s very obvious that players are not dictating the future of golf and the PGA Tour. Like, it needs to be — you need to have everyone’s perspective on both sides of it, and everyone that’s involved within Enterprises. You have a lot of strategic investors that know a heck of a lot more than any of us players.”

Perhaps lost in the shuffle of the off-the-course comings and goings is that Spieth, who hasn’t won a major since 2017, can become the sixth player to complete the career Grand Slam with a win this week. Spieth won the Masters and U.S. Open in 2015 and the Open Championship in 2017.

“It’s the one (major) that’s eluded me so far, and it would be pretty incredible to work my way into contention and have a chance this week and see if I can try to make that history,” said Spieth, 30. “I’ve had a number of chances since having the other three and come close a couple times, but never quite close enough at the end to really have a chance, so that would obviously be the goal this week.”

–Field Level Media

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