LPGA Hires Bivens as Next Commissioner

By Golf Channel NewsroomJune 16, 2005, 4:00 pm
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., June 16, 2005 ' Carolyn Vesper Bivens has been named commissioner-elect of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and will become the first female and only seventh commissioner in the organizations 55-year history when she assumes the role next month. Bivens, 52, is currently president and chief operating officer of Initiative Media North America, the largest media services company in the United States and part of the Interpublic Group of Companies.
 
Carolyn Vesper Bivens
Carolyn Vesper Bivens will become the LPGA Tour's seventh commissioner.
She was unanimously elected by the LPGA Board of Directors, which had formed a search committee in January to work in concert with Heidrick & Struggles, a global executive recruiting firm. Current LPGA Commissioner Ty M. Votaw announced his resignation on Jan. 7 but will remain with the LPGA to ensure an orderly leadership transition.

The LPGA is experiencing tremendous growth and success, and the organization is very pleased to have unanimously identified a proven, dynamic leader who will continue to build on this unparalleled momentum, as well as create new and prosperous opportunities for the LPGA, said Rae Forker Evans, chairwoman of the LPGA Board of Directors and co-chair of the commissioner search committee. Over the past several months, we have undergone an intense and thorough search for the best candidate to lead the LPGA, and through the unprecedented interest by hundreds of applicants, Carolyn was the obvious choice for all involved in the process. Given her impressive background as a consummate senior business executive in sales, media, television and business, she is uniquely qualified to bring the LPGA unmatched success.

Becoming commissioner of the LPGA, one of the most successful, recognizable and well-respected sports organizations in the world, is truly one of the highest honors of my professional life, said Bivens. I have long considered the commissionership as a top career aspiration and am thrilled about the opportunity to work with the some of the most extraordinary athletes and golf professionals in the world to continue the organizations upward momentum.
 
Bivens joined Initiative Media North America, at the time a burgeoning media consulting firm, in June 2000 as managing director of its western region. One year later, she was tapped as its president and chief operating officer for North America.
 
Prior to joining Initiative Media North America, Bivens enjoyed an 18-year career with USA Today. She joined in 1982 as part of the original launch team, and subsequently held various roles including Director of National Sales, Vice President of National Circulation Sales, and for nine years, Senior Vice President and Associate Publisher. Bivens career began at Xerox Corporation where she served in various sales and marketing positions.

I am confident that Carolyn will be an invaluable asset to the LPGA as commissioner, said Votaw. As Ive said numerous times throughout the process, I believe the LPGAs foundation is the strongest it has ever been in its 55-year history, and Carolyns background, relationships and proven business savvy will most certainly encourage continued growth and realization of the LPGAs full potential.
 
Bivens currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Bill. She plans to transition to Daytona Beach, Fla., over the coming months and will assume the duties of commissioner-elect by the end of July.
 
Bivens becomes the seventh commissioner in the LPGAs 55-year history. Her predecessors are: Ray Volpe, 1975-82; John D. Laupheimer, 1982-88; William A. Blue, 1988-90; Charlie S. Mechem Jr., 1991-95; Jim Ritts, 1996-99; and Votaw, 1999-present.
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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.