News & ToursJuly 8, 2009

The LPGA's poor timing

Carolyn Bivens' tenure as commissioner of the LPGA has been marred by a series of missteps, each of them surely eroding her job security, so it should have been a surprise to no one that a faction of the LPGA membership called for her resignation.

The only surprise was the timing (or, as some have asked, what took them so long?).

Unless those issuing the call have a suitable replacement standing by, the timing couldn't have been worse -- at a critical juncture in the season, when the LPGA, in the midst of a recession, is struggling to get sponsor commitments beyond the 10 they have for 2010. It's inconceivable that a sponsor on the fence would commit amid so much uncertainty.

Should Bivens be ousted (and it seems unlikely that she can survive this), the search for a replacement would begin for a job that is as challenging as it is thankless, and it probably wouldn't conclude in a matter of days or even weeks.

When Bivens' predecessor Ty Votaw announced his resignation on Jan. 7, 2005, a month passed before the LPGA announced that it had enlisted the services of Heldrick & Struggles, a global executive recruiting firm to help find Votaw's replacement.

Four months later, on June 16, the LPGA announced that Bivens had been hired. So five months elapsed between Votaw's resignation and Bivens' hiring. The LPGA really can't afford to be leaderless for even a week, much less months.

-- John Strege

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