By Jay A. Coffin
Barb Trammell, one of the LPGA’s highest-ranking officials, abruptly resigned Oct. 1, ending 18 years of service with the organization. Her final day was Oct. 7.
Trammell, senior vice president of tournament operations, is regarded as one of golf’s most respected rules officials and tournament administrators. She was in charge of LPGA tournament officials and operations staff, competition rules and regulations, tournament setup and other tournament-related duties.
Trammell’s departure immediately prompted speculation that she was at odds with the LPGA’s new commissioner, Carolyn Bivens.
“I really can’t give a lot of detail other than that I didn’t plan on resigning at this time,” Trammell told Golfweek Oct. 4. “Although I’m saddened to be leaving the LPGA, I’m looking forward to new opportunities.”
Trammell’s departure means that two of the LPGA’s five top executives have left the tour since Bivens took over as commissioner following the Solheim Cup in September. Kathy Milthorpe, executive vice president and chief financial officer, left the LPGA Sept. 16 after 17 years to take an executive position with International Speedway Corp. in Daytona Beach, Fla.
An LPGA spokesperson said the tour does not comment on staff resignations. However, a source told Golfweek that Bivens briefly addressed Trammell’s resignation at an Oct. 4 player’s meeting at the Longs Drugs Challenge by saying, “Barb is moving on for personal reasons. She gave 18 years of great service to this tour and left behind 10 fantastic rules officials.”
Trammell, 47, had been with the LPGA since 1987. She last officiated at the Office Depot Championship two weeks ago at Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles, where the course got mixed reviews – good for its scenic views of the Pacific Ocean, bad because of logistics that hindered gallery movement and contributed to rounds that lasted six hours for many players. The first day, 60 rulings were requested and officials had difficulty arriving quickly because of the course’s routing.
Sources say Trammell’s performance was being monitored by Deb Richard, a former LPGA player who was hired by Bivens last month to be a special consultant. The sources said the situation at Trump National likely provided fuel to a small group of players who had made known to Bivens their increasing displeasure with Trammell’s “by the book” demeanor, the very thing she has been praised for over the past two decades.
“No one appreciates what (rules officials) do,” said Mary Bea Porter-King, an LPGA winner and former member of the U.S. Golf Association’s Executive Committee. “There are long hours and it’s a thankless job. Barb has always been a professional at what she does.”