New LPGA Commish Bringing Hope?
A former Taylor Made Golf and Wilson Sports professional, Whan faces the task of fixing a mess that includes lost sponsors, racial issues geared towards the LPGA's accepted language, and a slumping fan base. While his predecessor had a strong business mind and sales mentality, Whan brings more experience in the actual business of golf... and is more of a fan than Bivens ever was.
According to the AP, Whan stated:
"I was that crazy high school kid cutting greens at 5:30 in the morning so he could play free golf in the afternoon and caddying on Sundays," Whan said Wednesday, during an introductory news conference at Madison Square Garden.
Despite his obvious fanfare of the sport, Whan does face a rather daunting task of regaining the support of the nation's sponsorship that saw LPGA event numbers drop from 34 to 28 during Bivens' reign. While many will blame the downturn of the American economy for this drop, Dawn Hudson, the chair of the LPGA board of directors, hopes that a new face as commissioner will promote a positive turn-around.
"At this particular time, with the struggles that all sports have had and some of the controversy of the past year, we really need a commissioner who can hit the ground running," she told The Associated Press (Chron.com, 2009).