PGA Tour's "Live Under Par" Slogan Pivots League In New Direction
The PGA Tour’s new “Live Under Par” marketing slogan represents the property’s effort to “take our sport to another level,” said Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan. Speaking in a featured interview at the '18 CAA World Congress of Sports, Monahan said the newly introduced campaign marks a deliberate evolution from “These Guys Are Good,” retired after a 21-year-run. “In today’s day and age, it gave an opportunity to pivot and move in a different direction. ... We don’t have to stage a photo shoot for this. It’s real. It’s authentic. It’s what our players are doing, day in and day out. And we’re excited to see it develop naturally.” Monahan acknowledged the new slogan has been less received in Europe, where the phrase has a more negative connotation. But the marketing around “Live Under Par,” is primarily designed as a U.S.-focused effort.
LENDING AN EAR: Monahan, who succeeded Tim Finchem early last year, conducted an extensive listening with a variety of stakeholders around the Tour. “We have a distributed business model. So understanding what your constituents are thinking ... is definitely important on a go-forward basis. It’s led us to 'Live Under Par.' It’s led us to changes in (our) schedule, and it’s going to lead us to other changes in how we present our content.” The schedule changes taking effect next year, done in collaboration with other entities such as the PGA of America, notably will shift the PGA Championship to May, the Players Championship to March, and create a new focus on the FedExCup next August. “We tried to look at our overall schedule through the eyes of the fan and we’re looking to own August and end our biggest events before the arrival of football in the fall,” Monahan said.
* Monahan said he was enthused for the Zurich Classic later this month in New Orleans, which will also feature walk-up music for each participating team, a concept popular in other sports but largely foreign to golf. But he added the event, now one of the tour’s most popular tournaments, also highlights the rising interest in team-based competitions among both players and fans.
* He branded the sport’s presence in the ’16 Rio Games as a major positive for the Olympics movement, despite widespread player defections due to the Zika virus, pointing in part to robust TV viewership in several territories for the competition. “When we talked to the IOC and talked to our partners, it was seen as a resounding success. And looking ahead, I think golf’s contributions to the Olympics is going to be significant,” he said.
* The Tour will ultimately return to a Trump Organization-owned golf course. Monahan said the property’s ’16 departure from Doral was due to the lack of a tournament sponsor.
* Monahan said his current handicap index is 4.6, but “trending higher.”