Seth Waugh stepping down as CEO of PGA of America

Seth Waugh says he is stepping down from the PGA of America after electing not to renew his contract, which expires on June 30.

Waugh, 66, joined the PGA of America as CEO in September 2018. He was on the verge of completing a three-year term as an independent director on the PGA’s board when his predecessor Pete Bevacqua left to become NBC Sports Group President – he’s currently serving as athletic director at Notre Dame – and Waugh was hired to take over.

“I may have gotten the job because of what I’ve done, my business stuff, but I took the job so that I could make a difference,” Waugh said shortly after starting as the head of an association of more than 29,000 club professionals. “The opportunity to do that is what is fulfilling to me. That will be my legacy, not whether we win a Ryder Cup or have the biggest TV deal ever. It will be whether the members are better off.”

During his tenure, the PGA relocated its headquarters from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, to a fancy, new campus complete with championship golf courses in Frisco, Texas, and committed to bringing 26 future PGA America championships – the PGA Professional Championship in April being the first of them – to the two courses built in its backyard. In his role, he also signed a lucrative 11-year TV deal with CBS and ESPN beginning in 2020.

As former CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas, Waugh worked during his time there with the PGA Tour to create the former Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston, where he hired now-PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan to be the first tournament director and served as an early mentor.

Ahead of the 106th playing of this year’s PGA Championship, the PGA of America’s flagship event, Waugh addressed the “messy” state of pro golf as the PGA Tour and LIV continue to battle for eyeballs and interest.

2023 PGA Championship
2023 PGA Championship

Kerry Haigh, Chief Championships Officer of the PGA of America, John Lindert, PGA of America President and Seth Waugh, Chief Executive Officer of the PGA of America, speak to the media during a news conference ahead of the 2023 PGA Championship at Oak Hill Country Club. (Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images)

Waugh said he was “absolutely” worried about the game at the professional level, noting how “it seems to get messier every week.”

“I think the best thing for the game is a deal. And we’ve been very consistent on that front,” said Waugh. “What has been an unsustainable business model has put pressure on other places like the (PGA Tour) that creates some financial dynamics as well as other dynamics that are very hard, and quite frankly it puts some financial pressure on us, as well.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek