Golfweek reported the latest disappointing news on the exasperating hunt for the next LPGA commissioner:
Arlen Kantarian, former chief executive of the U.S. Tennis Association, and Jeffrey Pollack, commissioner of the World Series of Poker, have withdrawn as candidates, according to Sports Business Daily. Likewise, WNBA commissioner Donna Orender, who was considered a frontrunner, earlier had pulled her name from consideration.
Kantarian, who is a senior adviser to the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, pulled out because the LPGA couldn’t meet his salary demands, Golfweek has learned from a source with intimate knowledge of the selection process. The same source said that Pollack was considered a darkhorse among the finalists.
So, does anyone want this job? Perhaps some are apprehensive given the scrutiny former commish Carolyn Bivens endured — and, of course, her not-so-graceful forced exit.
Wait! According to Golf Channel’s Randall Mell, one person is absolutely dying to take on the position:
Not on the search committee’s radar until he earnestly reached out to LPGA officials, [Jonathan] Ward won himself an interview, according to sources. Ward made contact with a number of LPGA insiders, impressing them with his corporate expertise, vision and passion to make a difference.
So why not just give the job to Ward? He sounds qualified (though that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the right fit) and more important, eager.
And then there’s the USGA’s Pete Bevacqua, who joins Ward on the short list of candidates. However, he’s staying mum about his level of (dis)interest. Bevacqua has been the “leader in the clubhouse” for the LPGA job for so long, we must wonder how that’s affecting his current work and if the USGA would be terribly disappointed if he leaves. Word is not much is getting done while the staff waits to hear if he’s going or staying.
Golfweek also mentioned the LPGA’s self-imposed deadline of mid-November to finish the selection process. But, when I questioned an official last week, I was under the impression the search committee was taking its time until they positively find the ideal person. And considering Bivens’ controversial tenure (and its disastrous end), that seems like the best approach for now.