SBD/March 10, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Mike Whan Appears In-Studio On Golf Channel To Discuss Various LPGA Issues

Whan says that he feels pressure to have more LPGA events
LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan today appeared in-studio on Golf Channel's "Morning Drive," where he explained the decision to cancel the April 21-24 Tres Marias Championship over concerns about drug violence in Mexico. Whan: "We get the monthly safety reviews on all of our projects and a lot overseas where we're not as comfortable. So we get a monthly report from Mexico and it was kind of heightening throughout the end of last year. But late last year we saw there was a police shootout on the actual highway we take from the airport to the golf course. Having been there a year ago ... I'd said to our team at the time, 'There's no way we can send players to places as a father I wouldn't send my own kids.'" He noted he feels "pressure to play more, I want to play more." Whan: "I don't like sitting at home and watching somebody else on the Golf Channel ... but the right thing to do is to say, 'Let's see if this settles down.'" Meanwhile, Whan explained the LPGA's decision to play in Taiwan for the first time in October with the Sherwood LPGA Taiwan Championship. Whan said the move is based "largely on the excitement of what's happened in that country" around No. 1-ranked golfer Yani Tseng, who is Taiwanese. Whan: "There's a great example of a player, a personality and a country that embraced and now we're going to play for a $2 million purse with 80 LPGA players every year for the next three years." Whan added Asian fans "really embrace the LPGA and that's quite frankly why we go."

GROUP EFFORT: CME Group earlier this week announced it was going to title sponsor the LPGA's season-ending event, the CME Group Titleholders. Whan said CME Group "has actually been doing things with the LPGA for a few years," as the company has a "big conference at the end of the year each year in Naples, Florida, and they've invited a lot of players down to participate." Whan added, "Our players really close the deal. As commissioner, I've learned long ago that if it's about me we're going to be in a lot of trouble. But if I let it be about the players and what goes on in-between the ropes, I just have to stay out of the way of that."  ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 3/10).
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