Bridge Building

By Randall MellJuly 13, 2009, 4:00 pm
LPGA Tour _newNow the hard work begins.
Marsha J. Evans may have interim attached to her new role as LPGA commissioner, but it would be a mistake to underestimate the vital work shes faced with over the next few months.
The retired Navy rear admiral is now in the business of bridge building.
Marsha Evans
Marsha Evans was announced as the interim LPGA commissioner Monday. (Getty Images)
The worlds great bridges stand as a testament to mankinds ingenuity in advancing its connection to vital resources.
Evans is charged with re-connecting the LPGA with tournaments and title sponsors.
They are the tours lifeblood and the work wont wait while the LPGA Board of Directors embarks on a thorough search for Carolyn Bivens successor.
When the LPGA announced Monday that the embattled Bivens was officially stepping down, Evans stepped up and into a role that might not last more than three months. Still, it will rank as three of the most important months in the organizations 59-year history. The tour needs strong leadership, and it needs it right now.
Nine title sponsors on last years schedule arent on the schedule thats penciled in for 2010.
SBS, Fields, Safeway, Corning , SemGroup, McDonalds, Ginn, Stanford and ADT were part of a healthy 08 schedule but wont be pumping any money into next years schedule.
At least four other title sponsors are up in the air over whether theyll renew contracts.
Thats 13 title sponsors, all of them connected to domestic events.
The tour could use a couple title sponsorship victories this summer to lift player morale and change some negative momentum.
It should be emphasized the LPGA isnt in danger of folding, but the loss of all those sponsorships is painful to tour pros who depend on playing opportunities.
In the end, no matter what players thought of Bivens tactics, that was the bottom line that led to her ouster.
The 15 or so players who penned their names to a letter devised over a dinner at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic almost two weeks ago would have tolerated the bad publicity that came with public relations missteps Bivens made over media image rights, the proposed English-proficiency standard and tweeting during competition. They werent going to tolerate the loss of all those sponsors when too many tournament directors were telling them that Bivens inflexible negotiating tactics were as much to blame as the economy. Thats why they asked for Bivens resignation.
You can add all the internal things in the world you want to the tour, many good additions, but nothing matters if you dont have strong tournaments and good schedules, because thats what drives the bus, Hall of Famer Judy Rankin said Monday before hopping onto a plane for the British Open.
So Evans charge is large in trying to repair wobbly bridges and build new ones.
Evans, who retired from a 30-year Naval career, was on the LPGAs Advisory Council for two years before joining the LPGA Board this year. Shes also held the top leadership positions for the American Red Cross and the Girl Scouts of the USA . Her endeavors havent been without conflict. The Washington Post reported she received a $780,000 buyout after her ouster from the chief executive position with the Red Cross three years ago. The organizations board reportedly had issues with her command and control management style.
I dont think you can get along in the corporate world without clashing with people, Rankin said. You do need a commissioner who will fight for you when its the right thing to do. Also, you need the ability to compromise.
Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, one of seven player directors on the LPGA Board, believes Evans is the perfect blend of tough and gentle to build bridges for the next commissioner.
She was everybodys first choice for this role, Inkster said. She has everything we need at this moment. While she has no intention of being the commissioner, she can help us out and steady the ship.

Shes a very good listener, very soft spoken, very knowledgeable. She fills a lot of the qualities we need right now. Shes a good people person, good with relationships, which is something we need to rebuild.
The good news for players is that tournament owners are encouraged by Evans and her interim team, which includes Annika Sorenstam as new Advisor to the LPGA Board of Directors.
Were eager to work with this group of people, said Gail Graham, president of the LPGAs Tournament Owners Association. Ive had some conversations with their staff, and theyre really wanting to focus on making sure there is good communication and relations, and that they can find a way of being flexible in negotiating issues and making sure we have a solid schedule in 2010.
Im pretty psyched. Weve seen things to make us believe that theres a lot of promise, even in this economy. Im not saying it wont be difficult as it plays itself out, but the optimism is a very, very good thing.
So let the bridge building begin.

Related Links:
  • Marsha Evans Bio
  • Video: LPGA tabs Evans as interim commissioner
  • Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

    Getty Images

    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

    Getty Images

    Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

    Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

    The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.