SBD/January 24, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

USGA's Mike Davis, Glen Nager Discuss Roles In Shaping Future Of Golf

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Davis has been responsible for several initiatives, including the ban on anchoring
The USGA is "undergoing the kind of awakening that comes with fresh leadership and an urgent crisis," according to Jaime Diaz of GOLF WORLD. USGA Exec Dir Mike Davis said, "There is a consensus that the way the game exists today can't sustain itself. The questions are huge. 'What is the game going to be like for our kids and grandkids?' There are so many problems to solve, and I look around and wonder, 'If we don't do it, who will?' It has to be us." Diaz writes rather than govern "benignly and often mysteriously, Davis is determined that his regime will be transparent, communicative, responsible and sometimes even bold." The most recent demonstration "is the pending ban on anchoring." Davis said, "I tell our people, let's not be like the federal government, where too many politicians are not willing to do what's right for the country because it might not be good for them. Let's not make expedient short-term decisions." Diaz writes USGA President Glen Nager is a "classic Mr. Inside with a specialty in corporate and managerial organization." Nager wanted his two years as president to be "partnered with a golf-savvy executive director who could be the game's Mr. Outside." Nager said, "Mike lives and breathes the game and has a selflessness about doing the right thing people quickly sense. That gives him enormous credibility as a leader." Davis said, "When it comes to non-golf things, I'm not your person. I'm not a business person or a marketing person."

ALWAYS BE PREPARED: Diaz notes Nager is "sensitive to charges that the association lost its way looking for funding through measures like partnering with companies such as American Express, Lexus and Chevron." The USGA has a $274M investment portfolio for "possible legal battles and emergency funds in case something like a natural disaster threatens the staging of the U.S. Open." It has separate deals with NBC, ESPN, Golf Channel and "international outlets to broadcast its championships, generating a combined" $40M a year. Nager said, "What we are trying to do is make sure that we have the resources to invest in the game of golf. Our investment portfolio is not there to make anyone wealthy. It's there so that when we have to make a move when somebody challenges us, we have the resources to defeat them, to put it bluntly" (GOLF WORLD, 1/28 issue).

CHARTING HIS COURSE: GOLFWEEK's Adam Schupak notes PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua is "just settling in to his new role, and said he is in the early stages of developing a strategic plan." For now, Bevacqua is "content to listen, learn and formulate a long-term strategy." Yet he "isn't shy when discussing his interest in returning the PGA Championship to the West Coast" (GOLFWEEK, 1/25 issue). SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Michael Smith this week profiles Bevacqua in a front-page piece. Bevacqua in his first two months since replacing Joe Steranka has "brought a loose and relaxed approach to the PGA of America’s top job" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/21 issue).
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