Three More Executives Resign from LPGA Tour

By Associated PressJune 9, 2006, 4:00 pm
HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. -- Three top executives resigned from the LPGA Tour this week for undisclosed reasons, bringing to seven the number of high-ranking employees to leave the tour since Carolyn Bivens took over as commissioner last September.
 
The LPGA accepted resignations from Deb Richard, senior vice president of golf; Julie Tyson, vice president of partnerships; and Liz Ausman, chief strategic officer.
 
Asked why she resigned, Richard paused and said, 'I've lost faith in the leadership.'
 
Bivens has said that turnover should be expected when there is a change in leadership, but two of the executives who were the latest to resign -- Ausman and Richard -- were hired by Bivens. Also peculiar was that they chose the week of a major, the LPGA Championship, to announce they were leaving.
 
'It's a sad thing for me to go through. I've devoted more than half my life to the LPGA,' said Richard, who played nearly 20 years and won five times. 'I feel uniquely connected on all levels, and I truly believe there's no greater sports property.'
 
Tyson did not return a call seeking comment, and Ausman could not be reached.
 
'As women's golf continues to grow and the popularity of the LPGA skyrockets, our organization will continue to evolve,' Bivens said in a statement. 'We wish Liz, Deb and Julie success in their future endeavors.'
 
Rae Evans, chair of the LPGA board, said she was not the least bit alarmed by three resignations in one day, and seven resignations over the last eight months. Others who have left the LPGA were Kathy Milthorpe, chief financial officer; Barb Trammell, senior vice president of tournament operations; Rob Neal, vice president of tournament business affairs; and Karen Durkin, chief marketing officer.
 
'Business is business. People come, people go,' Evans said. 'I haven't seen anybody at headquarters with Kleenex boxes.'
 
Evans was at the LPGA Championship on Friday, juggling time on the LPGA board, her job as a Washington lobbyist and as the mother of one of three Duke lacrosse players -- David Evans -- charged with rape at a team party.
 
She was bullish about the outlook of the LPGA Tour, saying companies have talked to her about getting involved in women's golf and that 'there's only good news in the weeks and months to come.'
 
Bivens has emphasized building the LPGA brand, although the tour has suffered a couple of setbacks with the media.
 
In February, news organizations boycotted the first round of the Field Opens in Hawaii, where Michelle Wie made her 2006 debut on the LPGA Tour, because of media regulations over who owns the rights to news photographs taken at tournaments. The LPGA eventually amended its regulation.
 
It also lost network coverage of a major when the LPGA Championship, angry about being asked to move up starting times in the final round starting in 2007, left CBS Sports for The Golf Channel.
 
'The knee-jerk reaction is we left a network for The Golf Channel,' Evans said. 'It's too early to tell. I probably view networks, because of the audience delivery, as the place to be. But a lot of smart people have invested in The Golf Channel. We'll see where it leads.'
 
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.