Jul
8
2009
More on the LPGA Commish Controversy
By Stephanie Wei under General

Here’s an update on the tense and controversial topic regarding the letter to the board of directors signed by some of the top players calling for Tour Commissioner Carolyn Bivens’ resignation.

On Tuesday evening, Beth Ann Baldry published a piece that mentioned many administrators and players have either refused to comment on and/or are waiting for the board’s response. Most recently, Ron Sirak reported via Twitter this afternoon that sources say Bivens isn’t at this week’s U.S. Women’s Open.

In yesterday’s press conference, Cristie Kerr made a statement requesting that out of respect for the USGA, questions be directed in regard to her game and perhaps her wine making. Other officials and players, such as LPGA chief of communications David Higdon, board chairman Dawn Hudson and world’s top ranked player Lorena Ochoa, have made similar statements. I concur.

On the other hand, Suzann Pettersen told Baldry that she did sign the letter and “now it’s up to our leadership and our board to find a solution.” I respect her honesty. But I’d also like to hear what some of the other players think. Perhaps not publicly or individually for the moment, but it does sound like there are some dissenting voices.

To my understanding, Bivens has made some wise business decisions – it’s mainly her negotiation tactics that have been the problem. Perhaps she shouldn’t be taking such a hard line in her demands from sponsors. It’s good she’s been an advocate for increasing purses and improving player benefit packages. But she should have been more flexible given the state of the economy. Timing is everything, right?

As I’ve previously stated, we can’t assign the blame to just one person or incident. What I’m trying to do is to look at the larger picture, because we really don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. If enough people think she is the problem, then maybe a shake-up would be a positive. Point being, we should support whatever is best for both the ladies and the LPGA. Trusting the board – which includes individuals with business experience – seems to make the most sense.

In hindsight, it might not have been the appropriate time for such a sensitive issue to be exposed publicly. We can’t do anything about it now, though and it was likely to happen at some point. With that said, let’s shift our focus back to what will surely be an exciting major championship – the U.S. Women’s Open.