Orender out of the running for LPGA chief

Donna Orender (right) presents the 2009 WNBA Coach of the Year award to Atlanta Dream head coach Marynell Meadors.

WNBA chief Donna Orender plans to stay with the professional women’s basketball league and officially has withdrawn her candidacy for LPGA commissioner.

Considered a front-runner for the tour’s top post, Orender said Oct. 4 that she’s not interested in the job.

“Basketball is the largest participatory sport played by young girls and women and the benefits and social impact of the sport are far reaching,“ Orender said via e-mail. “We have an ownership group and management team that is committed to creating success around this league and it’s been a privilege to work so closely with them.

“I wish the LPGA success going forward. Golf still remains a large part of my life and it will continue to be through the many lifelong relationships I am honored to have in the industry.”

Orender’s husband, M.G., said his wife was gratified by the attention she received from the golf community. Several insiders begged her to consider the LPGA position.

“She loves basketball,” said M.G., a former president of the PGA of America. “She feels she has a bigger reach and better growth potential (with the WNBA).”

M.G. said “money was never an issue” in regard to her decision.

The USGA’s Pete Bevacqua – who, along with Orender, was cited as a finalist for the LPGA post, according to sources – now appears to lead the tour’s short list. Bevacqua was named the USGA’s chief business officer in July 2007.

Before joining the USGA in 2003, Bevacqua was with the New York law firm of Davis, Polk & Wardwell. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 1993 and received his Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center.

– Jeff Rude contributed

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