Will new LPGA commissioner be the tour's magic (Michael) Whan?
With a dwindling schedule and corporate dollars hard to come by, the LPGA announced earlier today that Michael Whan, a marketing whiz who once worked for TaylorMade-adidas Golf, will be its new commissioner come January.
Whan, 44, has plenty of golf experience, but more importantly, he has a successful track record of company growth. Most recently, he led Mission-ITECH Hockey, which makes and markets hockey gear, to success.
In the mid- to late-1990s Whan was with TaylorMade as its North American executive vice president. If he had anything to do with TaylorMade’s growth back then ? which I suspect he did ? then he’s probably the right guy for the job.
It’s no secret that sponsorship dollars have been dwindling rapidly on the LPGA Tour. It only has 18 tournaments under contract for next year with projections between 22 and 25, far fewer than it was a few years ago.
Whan seems to have a good grasp of what needs to be done, and it has to do with exactly what some seem to think is the problem. Instead of bemoaning the international presence on the tour, he talked about expanding the tour globally.
That’s a good strategy. It only stands to reason that if Asian players are dominating the tour, then opportunity to grow it abroad is great.
The LPGA didn’t need a figurehead (as some have suggested earlier this year). It needed somebody who was willing to go to work and somebody who can figure out how to market a product. Whan’s track record suggests he could be the guy. Time will tell.
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