SBD/Issue 205/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Acting LPGA Commish Marty Evans Will Not Stay On Long-Term

Evans (l) Notes Her First Focus Will
Concern '10 LPGA Tournament Schedule
The LPGA yesterday formally announced Marty Evans as acting Commissioner, but Evans said she has "no interest, no intention to serve as the commissioner" on a long-term basis. Evans: "We need someone with new energy who can bring passion and skills and experience, and I will be very happy to facilitate a smooth transition to that individual when selected." Evans noted her first focus will concern the '10 LPGA tournament schedule. Evans: "We want to make sure that we quickly nail that down. But at the same time I want to reach out to fans, particularly develop closer, stronger relationships with the players and look to the future." Evans also said she will visit tournaments that do not have contracts for future years. Evans: "We have a list of some of the highest priority tournaments" (Golf Channel, 7/13). Evans added, "We're going to be really focused, in the near term, on the 2010 schedule. The idea is to turn over, when the new commissioner is selected, an organization that is moving in the right direction." In Jacksonville, Garry Smits notes one of Evans' first tasks will be to "smooth over hard feelings between the LPGA and tournament sponsors, owners and organizers." Evans said that the promotion of LPGA Senior VP/Worldwide Sales Zayra Calderon to Exec VP/Tournament Development & Worldwide Sales "will be an important part of the process." Calderon will "work closely with tournament owners and title sponsors to renew existing events and help create new ones" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 7/14).

TOURNEY TIME: Evans noted that only 13 events "are locked down for next year," compared with the 30 tournaments on this year's docket. She added that Calderon will be her "point person on negotiations" (USA TODAY, 7/14). Wegmans LPGA co-Chair Jerry Stahl, whose tournament does not have a contract for next year, said the appointment of Evans "will give us a new opportunity to talk with the LPGA and I'm sure it will be positive." Stahl: "We left a proposal with the LPGA and now I expect a sincere effort to put their arms around Rochester and give us a contract" (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 7/14). Gold World's Ron Sirak said, "There are some people who may not have been willing to negotiate with Carolyn Bivens because they thought there weren’t really negotiations there who are going to be willing to go back to the table right now. So, it will be interesting to see what happens” ("Golf Central," Golf Channel, 7/13). Golf Channel's Charlie Rymer said of Evans, "She certainly will command respect, she's very intimate, she's familiar with the players. The players love and respect her, she knows the sponsors, the tournament directors." Annika Sorenstam will serve as an advisor to the LPGA BOD during the transition period, and Rymer noted her presence "seems like a great game plan for the short run and then go on and find a more permanent replacement in the future" (Golf Channel, 7/13).

Bivens Not Sure "Fair" Has
Place In Business Vernacular
LOOKING BACK ON TENURE: Former LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens yesterday gave her first extensive public comments on the situation, and she said of formally resigning the post, "This is not the way that I think anybody wants to leave an organization." When asked if she thought she had been treated fairly, Bivens said, "I grew up in the business world and 'fair,' I'm not sure, has a place in the business vernacular. It's not a word that I use very often." In N.Y., William Rhoden writes Bivens was a "consummate businesswoman and dealmaker who was hired to enhance the LPGA's fortunes with an aggressive approach to raising prize money and changing the mind-set of a sport that survived but didn't necessarily thrive." Bivens was "hired to help the LPGA think big." However, she said that some players had "reservations about hiring a woman." Bivens: "It was controversial among some of the players. They understood the world of sport and especially the world of golf was male-dominated. I found that strange, but a lot of them were up front about that." Rhoden writes Bivens' resignation is a "pronouncement about the perils of competing for dollars in a male-dominated sports landscape and the pitfall of leading an organization in which players have too much control over areas where they have limited expertise." Bivens: "We have a governance issue. How we are run and the constitution of the LPGA is a problem, not just for me, not just for the former commissioners, but for current and former board members. Being an active player and trying to govern an organization don’t go together. They are absolutely counterintuitive. They fight each other" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/14). In Philadelphia, Joe Juliano notes there was no word yesterday on "any details of a settlement reached between the board and Bivens concerning the final 18 months of her contract, which had paid her $500,000 a year" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/14).

Nike Golf President Cindy Davis Mentioned
As Possible Candidate To Replace Bivens
WHO'S GOT NEXT? LPGA BOD Chair Dawn Hudson said the tour wants to find a permanent new commissioner "as fast as we can." Hudson: "It’s minimally a couple of months. We want to be aggressive, but I don’t want to compromise aggressiveness with getting the right person." WNBA President Donna Orender has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the position, and Hudson said, "Since the search committee was only formed last week and the search partner identified yesterday, we really don't have a list yet. But certainly she would be welcome to be on that list as many others would." Golf World's Ron Sirak said he thinks there are "several really strong candidates out there." Sirak added two "really strong people" are Nike Golf President Cindy Davis, who has a "really high-profile job," and Orender. Sirak noted Davis' name has been "mentioned a lot," and Orender has a "strong golf background." Golf Channel's Rymer said he thinks Orender is the "lady for the job." Rymer: "She's got great experience with the PGA Tour, she comes from a golf family, her husband M.G. Orender is the former President of the PGA of America. She's done a wonderful job with the WNBA. I think if the LPGA could get her, it'd be a perfect fit" (Golf Channel, 7/13). Meanwhile, MSG Promotions President and U.S. Women's Open Exec Dir Mimi Griffin said that she "would interview for the LPGA Tour's commissioner position if approached" (Allentown MORNING CALL, 7/14). Hudson said “We want the commissioner to have a proven track record of being a leader of complex organizations, knowing sports, and if those sports could be golf, that’d be ideal” ("Golf Central," Golf Channel, 7/13).

IMPORTANT DECISION: Sirak said, "I don't think it's an overstatement to say in the 59-year history of the LPGA, the choice of the next commissioner might be the next important decision they've ever had to make" (Golf Channel, 7/13). In Nashville, Joe Biddle writes under the header, "LPGA Must Ace Hire For A Commissioner" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 7/14). In Daytona Beach, Ken Willis writes the LPGA "needed a miracle worker in order to navigate current tides, and while Bivens was by all accounts a worker, she delivered no miracles" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 7/14).

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