LPGA to name Whan as commissioner
Golfweek has learned Michael Whan will be introduced Wednesday morning at Madison Square Garden in New York as the new LPGA commissioner, according to two sources with inside knowledge of the hiring. Whan, 44, most recently has been president and CEO of Mission-ITECH Hockey. The 1987 graduate of Miami (Ohio) University served as executive vice president/general manager of North America TaylorMade Adidas Golf from 1995 to 2000, and he also worked at Wilson.
Whan replaces Carolyn Bivens, who was forced out after several high-profile players called for her resignation in the week preceding the U.S. Women’s Open. Bivens, the LPGA’s first female commissioner, resigned shortly thereafter.
Marty Evans, an LPGA board member and retired Navy rear admiral, has served as interim commissioner and helped salvage several relationships with longtime sponsors. She will continue to serve through 2009, with Whan assuming his new duties Jan. 4.
Still, Whan inherits an organization that is foundering. The LPGA recently laid off eight employees, including deputy commissioner Libba Galloway. The tour aims to have 25 events on the 2010 schedule, down from 28 this year, including the Solheim Cup. The LPGA had 33 events in 2008.
In a memo to players informing them of the news Tuesday evening, Evans wrote that Whan “has extensive brand management and marketing experience, including two stints in the golf industry with TaylorMade and Wilson. He brings CEO experience and has an extensive track record as a dynamic leader.”