Power Broker Who Lost 66 Employees on 9/11 Helped Create PGA-LIV Merger

Jimmy Dunne joined the PGA Tour's policy board as an independent director in 2023

Jimmy Dunne of U.S. investment bank Piper Sandler plays a shot at St. Andrews.
Jimmy Dunne was one of the architects of the deal between the PGA Tour and a Saudi investment fund.
David Cannon/Getty

Fairly and accurately labeled as a hypocritical dirtbag for using the families of victims of 9/11 as a talking point against Saudi-backed LIV Golf for more than a year before then turning around and essentially selling the soul of the PGA Tour to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) in a shocking merger that was announced Tuesday morning, Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said Wednesday in an interview with the Golf Channel that he regretted not informing the 9/11 Families United coalition about the deal he had made to take billions from the PIF.

Prior to Monahan’s comments, the 9/11 Families United coalition released a statement about his actions. “PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan co-opted the 9/11 community last year in the PGA’s unequivocal agreement that the Saudi LIV project was nothing more than sportswashing of Saudi Arabia’s reputation,” per the group. “But now the PGA and Monahan appear to have become just more paid Saudi shills, taking billions of dollars to cleanse the Saudi reputation so that Americans and the world will forget how the Kingdom spent their billions of dollars before 9/11 to fund terrorism, spread their vitriolic hatred of Americans, and finance al Qaeda and the murder of our loved ones. Make no mistake — we will never forget…PGA Tour leaders should be ashamed of their hypocrisy and greed.” 

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Speaking with the Golf Channel, Monahan hid behind the need for confidentiality as his reason for secrecy. “I regret that. I really do,” he said. “It’s important to reiterate that I feel like the move we made and how we move forward is in the best interest of our sport. We’ve eliminated those fractures. Any difficulties I’ve caused on that front, I have to own that as well. That comes back to communication.” (Speaking of communication, Monahan had none with his staunch ally Rory McIlroy, who described himself as a “sacrificial lamb” yesterday.)

While it’s hard to find a larger hypocrite than Monahan, who hinted in the past that LIV players should have to apologize for playing on the upstart circuit due to Saudi Arabia’s links to 9/11, power broker Jimmy Dunne, who joined the PGA Tour’s policy board as an independent director in 2023, may have him beat.

A co-founder of the investment banking firm Piper Sandler (formerly Sandler O’Neill & Partners), Dunne would have been working on the 104th floor in the south tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11 except he was out attempting to qualify for the U.S. Mid-Amateur on September 11, 2001. He lost 66 employees that day, according to The Associated Press.

Dunne, along with PGA Tour board chairman Ed Herlihy, Monahan and others, was apparently able to push that to the side while negotiating the PGA’s deal with PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan. How was Dunne able to make peace with the reality that 15 of the 19 hijackers involved in 9/11 were Saudi nationals and move forward with the PIF? The 66-year-old told USA Today it basically comes down to his belief that golf is “a force for good.”

“I went on the board hoping that I could be part of a solution,” Dunne said. “Everyone will have their own point of view. I’m confident that what we came up with is the best long-term for the game. It’s true. That’s it. I’m not trying to get more shares of this company. I’m not trying to make anybody look bad or good. I’m just dealing with the facts, as we have them. And I’m trying to find a way that we can go forward, positively.”

The facts, as we have them, are that the PGA Tour is controlled by a bunch of embarrassing and obvious frauds — who are now substantially richer thanks to the PIF.

As for actual golf, the RBC Canadian Open began today at Toronto’s Oakdale Golf & Country Club.

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