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LPGA: Bivens' backlash roils board

November 16, 2009

The LPGA Board of Directors is apparently feeling some backlash for allowing the Carolyn Bivens situation go on as long as it did. According to sources familiar with the situation, Dawn Hudson will remain on the board but is unlikely to be re-elected as chairman. And sources say player members on the board do not support the idea of making acting commissioner Marty Evans chair, in part because she oversaw the recent layoffs at tour headquarters. Many LPGA insiders view Hudson as part of a group that included former board chair Rae Evans as responsible for hiring Bivens, a longtime friend of Evans. Marty Evans was placed on the board by Bivens. All are tied together by headhunter Joie Gregor, who recommended Bivens for commissioner and helped Marty Evans get a job running the American Red Cross.

According to these sources, Marty Evans has informed the board that if she is not chair she will not remain on the board. There will be a turnover of at least two independent directors on the board and among those being considered to fill the spots, sources say, are Cindy Davis, a former LPGA officials who is currently president of Nike Golf, and Anheuser-Busch/InBev executive Tony Pontura. Mike Whan, a marketing man who most recently ran a hockey equipment company, takes over as commissioner Jan. 4. According to several sources familiar with the interview process during the commissioner search, Gregor was an active participant in the search process.

-- Ron Sirak