A case of déjà vu for the LPGA

Michael Whan speaks to the media after being named LPGA commissioner on Oct. 28.

Michael Whan speaks to the media after being named LPGA commissioner on Oct. 28.

As new LPGA commissioner Mike Whan settles into his job, it’ll be interesting to see how he handles the many tasks that await him. And though there’s bound to be plenty of Monday-morning quarterbacking, it’s interesting to note that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Back in 1991, then LPGA chief Bill Blue was ousted in a player revolt and lawyer Charlie Mechem was hired as his replacement. It’s a story line that should sound quite familiar, considering LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens’ was ousted last year. The following is an excerpt from Jaime Diaz's New York Times story in 1991:

“Blue, who was hired for his expertise in marketing, mixed a slick public presentation with a brusque interpersonal manner that ended up alienating him from sponsors and players and left him open to charges of questionable integrity.”

Couldn’t you just insert Bivens’ name for Blue’s and slap a 2009 dateline on the story?

Diaz continued: “In 1991, the women will be playing for more money than ever with $17.4 million in total purses. But the schedule will again contain a three-week gap in April devoid of an event that has been derisively dubbed ‘Spring Break.’ Only 12 of the 37 events will be televised in this country, with no television scheduled from April 1 to June 27.”

Fast-forward to 2010, and with even fewer events to play, LPGA professionals can schedule both a spring and summer getaway this year.

The tour can only hope that history will repeat itself in another way as well: that Whan eventually will become as beloved by the players as Mechem, who they affectionately called “Uncle Charlie.”

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