Is Jay Monahan Overpaid?

One of the arguments for LIV Golf has been that the PGA TOUR as an organization has been enriching itself at the expense of the players. PGA TOUR executives, it is said, could pay the players more if they were not so busy stuffing their own pockets.

Is that true? Is PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan overpaid?

One way to think of this is to compare Monahan’s salary to those of his peers.

In absolute dollars, Monahan makes far less than his peers in the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL.

Sport Commissioner Salary in $
NFL Roger Goodell 63,000,000 
MLBRob Manfred 11,000,000 
NBAAdam Silver 10,000,000 
NHLGary Bettman 9,600,000 
PGA TOURJay Monahan 4,000,000 

Is Jay Monahan overpaid? At first glimpse, it seems not.

However, it also is true that the PGA TOUR’s revenues are significantly less than the other major US sports.

Sport Revenues 
NFL 16,000,000,000 
PGA TOUR1,500,000,000

it may come as a surprise to some that the PGA TOUR’s revenues are as low as they are.

Given the disparity in league revenues, absolute salary may not be the best way to look at the question. A more telling statistic may be Salary As A Percent of League Revenue.

Sport Revenues Commissioner Salary Salary as % of revenue 
NFL 16,000,000,000 Roger Goodell 63,000,000 0.39% 
PGA TOUR1,500,000,000Jay Monahan 4,000,000 0.27% 
NHL5,000,000,000 Gary Bettman 9,600,000 0.19% 
MLB9,560,000,000 Rob Manfred 11,000,000 0.12% 
NBA10,000,000,000 Adam Silver 10,000,000 0.10% 

In this case, Jay Monahan ranks second among major sports commissioners in terms of salary as a percent of revenues.

So. Is Jay Monahan Overpaid? Is $4 million a fair compensation? It is hard to tell. What is Greg Norman being paid to front LIV? What are LIV’s revenues? Does LIV even have any revenues (it seems unlikely, given that they do not have any broadcast contracts and they were giving away tickets at the first event)?

Ultimately, it will be up to PGA TOUR players whether their Commissioner makes too much money. I would suggest, though, that if Monahan were to work with no compensation from the PGA TOUR, the cost savings would have little material impact on the size of player purses. With 47 events on the 2022 PGA TOUR schedule, Monahan’s salary amounts to $85,106,38 per tournament.

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2 thoughts on “Is Jay Monahan Overpaid?”

  1. Perhaps a better comparison would be with another charity. The PGA Tour is legally a charitable organization. According to the PGA Tour’s tax 990 (2018 is most recent I can access), Jay Monahan had income from related organizations of $2,900,00 and his total compensation was over $7,000,000.

    By way of comparison, the chief operating officer of the American Red Cross (revenues 50-100% higher than the PGA Tour) made $776,000 in 2021.

    If the PGA Tour wants to be considered a charitable organization, maybe the compensation for their leader and the management team should look more like a non-profit charity versus a for-profit sports organization..


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