From the NYT:
Amid mounting criticism over her leadership of the L.P.G.A. Tour, Commissioner Carolyn Bivens has decided to step down after the United States Women’s Open, according to a person with knowledge of the situation and multiple published reports.
Under Carolyn Bivens, the tour has lost seven events since 2007.
Bivens, 56, originally planned to fight efforts to force her out through the L.P.G.A. board of directors, according to the individual, but she changed her mind when presented with a letter requesting her resignation signed by 15 tour stars, including Lorena Ochoa, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Se Ri Pak.
The person spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to publicly address the sensitive personnel matter. He said the board was conducting “informal discussions” with individuals in the industry to gauge their interest in replacing Bivens.
From Golf Digest:
Carolyn Bivens’ tumultuous four-year run as LPGA commissioner will end early next week, multiple sources tell GolfDigest.com, the tipping point coming when the Board of Directors received a letter from some of the tour’s top players calling for her resignation. Official word is expected after this week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Saucon Valley Country Club.
“The letter was a death sentence,” one source within the LPGA told GolfDigest.com. “No confidence by the players is a dagger in her heart,” said a second source, this one involved in tournament ownership.
Not all were opposed to Bivens, however. Several articles, including the Golf Digest piece, mention Bivens supporters who say that the Tour’s problems are not her fault.
Maybe not, but the president of anything has to take the blame when things don’t go right. The current recession wasn’t George Bush’s fault, but he has been saddled with the blame.
The real question is who will take the job as Bivens’ successor. Mentioned in several stories are Donna Orender, the W.N.B.A. commissioner; Hall of Fame golfers Nancy Lopez and Judy Rankin; and Cindy Davis, the president of Nike Golf. In a little bit of hometown hopefulness, the St. Augustine Record says that Orender is the top contender The article is worth reading, if only for her background. On paper, Orenders seems like a perfect fit—especially since she has a golf background that Bivens seemed to lack.
But on the other hand, I don’t know who would really WANT the LPGA job. It seems a thankless one, underpaid by sports standards, and possibly doomed to failure. As with General Motors, the LPGA’s future may depend on it becoming smaller. In order to get the number of events back to reasonable levels (there currently are only TEN signed for next year), the Tour may have to return to its barnstorming roots and accept some sub-million dollar purses.
On the positive side, this move probably means the survival of the Jamie Farr in Toledo. It may also hopefully mean the revival of the Corning Classic in New York. They were’nt big enough for Bivens; may be her successor will see it in a different light.