RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Facing an 8-footer for birdie on the 18th hole at a major championship carries the most pressure one can face on a golf course.
Mike Whan, the new LPGA commissioner, handled the nerves and sank a birdie putt of that length on the famed 18th at Mission Hills Country Club’s Dinah Shore Course. Whan played in Wednesday’s pro-am at the Kraft Nabisco Championship with Angela Stanford and two other amateurs. Whan’s team shot a gross 9-under 63 in the scramble.
Whan showed some game in Wednesday’s pro-am. He split the fairway with his drive on the first hole, hitting a solid fade about 240 yards. His approach shot rolled 10 feet behind the hole.
“I’m out of here. I’m going to IHOP,” he joked, hoping to exit the event on a high note.
Whan also showed the charisma that has many thinking his tenure will be a contrast to that of his predecessor, Carolyn Bivens. Whan spent much of the day joking with his playing partners, spectators and volunteers.
“He swings slower than he talks,” Stanford said. “At least he’s out here playing.”
Whan caddied at last week’s Futures Tour event, and played this week. What’s next for the commissioner?
“Standard bearer,” Stanford joked.