PGA Tour and Champions Tour veteran Tom Bernice Jr. is facing charges of multiple instances of domestic violence by his ex-girlfriend, according to Sports Illustrated.
Mary Ann O’Neill described multiple cases of alleged domestic violence to Bernice, 62, who was accused of punching O’Neill in the leg, hitting her with a cell phone, and grabbing and wrapping her wrists.
O’Neill, now 41 – an independent sports marketer from Boston who also worked to find sponsorship deals for PGA Tour events – began a relationship with Pernice in March 2015.
She shared scripts for Sports Illustrated that documented one of the alleged incidents and provided a recording in which Pernice allegedly admitted to hitting her. O’Neill had previously filed a police report but did not press charges against Bernice due to the year 2018 in which she accused him of hitting her with a cell phone and bruising her arm.
Following an incident in 2021 after mimicking areas, O’Neill sent a PGA Tour audio file that she recorded on her phone during a trip from one tournament location to another. O’Neill said it wasn’t the first time she had reported Bernice’s violent behavior to the tour. Pernice served a 30-day suspension — reduced from 90 days on appeal — last summer and attended anger management therapy.
He is currently facing criminal intimidation charges against O’Neill in Massachusetts, and Bernice’s attorney said a hearing is scheduled for September 29 on a motion to dismiss all charges. Pernice, who has won twice on the PGA Tour and six times on the PGA Tour Champions, continues to compete.
Joel Shuchman, senior vice president of communications, told SI in a statement that the PGA Tour does not disclose specific disciplinary action but does take “allegations of domestic violence seriously.”
“In matters involving potential criminal activity, we immediately provide assistance in referring the complaint to the relevant authorities for further investigation and action,” the statement said. “We also take appropriate action based on our own investigations, including – but not limited to – suspension from play in the tournament as well as resources and treatment, such as mandatory counselling. Furthermore, we may take further action based on any findings by the App. law and/or the result of any criminal proceedings.”
Bernice’s attorney, Patrick Donovan, sent a statement to SI that said in part: “Tom Bernice vehemently denies that he was abusive in any way, whether physically, verbally, or financially, to Ms. O’Neill. Since their separation [in the summer of 2021] Mrs. O’Neill has proven to be a liar and a thief bent on destroying Mr. Bernice. …she is using a distorted version of the facts to only corrupt Mr. Bernice and financially benefit herself all to break away from her.”
In June, O’Neill first reached out to SI to share her story. “I realize I’m a written case of domestic violence,” she said. “Not only courses [of abuse] And the decision I made that people who weren’t in the situation don’t understand. Why did you keep coming back to him? But I’m also a victim in terms of not taking people seriously, in this case the PGA Tour, which could have put it off. …that’s why I’m open.”
To read the full version of SI’s story, click here.