PGA Tour and Champions Tour veteran Tom Pernice Jr. stands accused of multiple instances of domestic violence by his ex-girlfriend, according to Sports Illustrated.
MaryAnn O’Neill detailed multiple instances of alleged domestic abuse from Pernice, 62, who is accused of punching O’Neill in the leg, striking O’Neill with a cell phone and grabbing and twisting O’Neill’s wrists.
O’Neill, now 41 — an independent sports marketer from Boston who also worked to find sponsorship deals for PGA Tour events, including Rapiscan for the senior circuit’s Biloxi event — started a relationship with Pernice in March 2015.
She shared texts to Sports Illustrated that documented one of the alleged incidents as well as submitted a recording in which Pernice allegedly admits to hitting O’Neill.
After an incident in 2021, O’Neill sent the PGA Tour an audio file that she recorded on her phone during a trip from one tournament site to another. According to O’Neill, it wasn’t the first time she informed the Tour of Pernice’s violent behavior. Pernice was disciplined, serving a 30-day suspension – reduced from 90 days on appeal – last summer as well as attending mandated anger-management therapy. He presently faces felony charges for intimidation against O’Neill in Massachusetts, and according to Pernice’s attorney they have a hearing scheduled for Sept. 29 for a motion to dismiss all charges. Pernice, who won twice on the PGA Tour and six times on PGA Tour Champions, continues to compete.
SI states in its story that it presented the PGA Tour with a list of detailed questions pertaining to the allegations against Pernice and the information O’Neill shared. In response, Joel Schuchmann, senior vice president of communications, provided a statement that read in full: “While we do not disclose specific disciplinary action and will not comment on this instance in detail, it is important to note that the PGA Tour takes allegations of domestic violence very seriously. In matters involving potential criminal activity, we immediately offer assistance in bringing forward the complaint to the appropriate authorities for further investigation and action. We also take appropriate action based upon our own investigation, including – but not limited to – suspension from tournament play as well as resources and treatment, such as mandatory counseling. Furthermore, we may take further action based upon any findings by law enforcement and/or the outcome of any criminal proceedings.”
In response to questions from SI emailed to Pernice, his attorney, Patrick Donovan, sent a statement that read in part: “Tom Pernice vehemently denies ever being abusive in any way, either physically, verbally or financially to Ms. O’Neill. Since their breakup [in the summer of 2021] Ms. O’Neill has proven herself to be a liar and a thief hell-bent on destroying Mr. Pernice. … She uses a distorted version of the facts to only ruin Mr. Pernice and financially benefit herself all for breaking up with her. She will stop at nothing to extort Mr. Pernice and unjustly enrich herself. It comes as no surprise Mrs. O’Neill would resort to a disinformation campaign.”
In June, O’Neill first reached out to SI to share her story. “I realize that I am a textbook case for domestic violence,” she says. “Not just cycles [of abuse] and the decision I made that people who haven’t been in the situation don’t understand. Why did you keep going back to him? But I am also a victim in terms of not being taken seriously by people, in this case the PGA Tour, that could have stopped it. … So that’s why I am opening up.”
To read the full version of the SI story, click here.
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