Joe, Jay Monahan Enjoy Special Week In Pebble Beach
PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA | Joe Monahan, now a 75-year-old lawyer who refuses to retire, remembers putting a golf club in son Jay’s hands for the first time.
Joseph William Monahan IV was three years old in Belmont, Mass., a Boston suburb, and 42 years away from becoming just the fourth commissioner of the PGA Tour.
In a family where hockey and baseball were part of the DNA, golf was part of life.
“Golf is part of our family Rubicon,” said Joe Monahan, father of three.
When Jay Monahan decided to play in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am for the first time this year, he asked his father to be his caddie. That’s a big ask – three, possibly four rounds – lugging a bag around at an age more commonly associated with the early-bird special.
But the scenery, the excitement and the chance to spend all that time together made it a natural decision for the Monahans.
“He’s been a really good competitive golfer through the years, so we have always been around him when he’s been competing and caddied for him in club championships and state amateurs,” Jay Monahan said Thursday after playing Monterey Peninsula Country Club with his partner, Keith Mitchell.
“But just to have him see the same thing I saw and to have him try and work me through that (first) round, given some of the challenges I was having, was pretty cool.”
Father-son golf stretches through almost the entirety of Jay Monahan’s life.
“Our family tradition is the Winchester (Ma.) Country Club father-son which is the oldest father-son in the country. I got these guys going when they were six in that tournament,” Joe Monahan said.
“The three of them. They all played pretty well.”
“I’m certainly far more nervous out here trying to make a 10-foot putt than anything else I do professionally.” – Jay Monahan
As commissioner of the PGA Tour, Monahan’s day job requires him to make multi-million dollar decisions while overseeing an organization that is, to many people, the face of golf. Monahan is on a first-name basis with the leaders of many of the largest, most influential businesses in the country and will soon be deeply involved in negotiating the Tour’s next television deals.
All of that comes naturally to Monahan, who admits to running numbers through his head when he can’t sleep, but stepping inside the ropes to play alongside the professionals whose business he manages is different.
Playing with Mitchell, Charley Hoffman and his partner Jim Fish, Monahan admitted he was a bundle of nerves in the first round.
“I want to have three great days – four great days – and just a wonderful experience with (my dad). But the fact of the matter is my hands were heavier than they have ever been before, right?” Monahan said.
“I stood up over a few putts at the beginning of the round and I’m like, OK, this is a totally different feeling than anything I’ve ever had before or certainly had in a long time, because – but it was a really special experience.
“I’m certainly far more nervous out here trying to make a 10-foot putt than anything else I do professionally. I looked at Charley and Keith closely during the course of the round and they were as comfortable as you could ever be. And so to me that’s the most impressive thing. The shot making, you see it from all the guys out here, but just the peace that they play with is pretty amazing.”
Monahan three-putted six times in the first round and didn’t want any fatherly advice.
“I tried to help but he said, Dad, I have enough problems now,” Joe Monahan said.
With his son now based in Ponte Vedra, Fla., Joe Monahan said he spends about three months in Florida but he remains based in Boston. Seeing his son in the position he now occupies is more than Joe Monahan imagined.
“It’s incredible,” he said. “I don’t understand it.”
Prior to Pebble Beach, Jay Monahan was in Atlanta for the Super Bowl with his two brothers and one of their daughters. Moving to Florida couldn’t drain the New England blood from the Monahans, who watched the New England Patriots win a sixth Super Bowl.
Joe Monahan wasn’t entirely left out. Caddying for his son, he wore a New England Patriots Super Bowl champion hat.
And a smile.
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan and his father, Joe Monahan, plan their next shot on the sixth hole green during the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Photo: Ben Jared, PGA Tour via Getty Images
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