'Having the privilege to lead the LPGA will always be one of the highest honors of my professional life, Votaw said in a statement. While it was a difficult decision for me, it was made easier by the fact that the LPGAs foundation is the strongest it has ever been in its 55-year history and the organizations future is very, very bright.
'I am very thankful to the LPGA Board of Directors for providing me with the opportunity to serve as commissioner and am so very proud of what the membership has allowed the LPGA to accomplish during my tenure. I will always look back upon my time at the LPGA as one of the most rewarding times of my
Votaw was named LPGA commissioner in March 1999, and his seven-year tenure will be the second-longest in LPGA history. Highlights of Votaws tenure include: the LPGAs 50th Anniversary celebration; the historic LPGA Player Summit in 2002, where the organizations successful Fans First strategic business plan was introduced; the convening of the first-ever World Congress of Womens Golf in 2004; and increasing economic opportunities for LPGA members.
In 1999, Votaws first year as commissioner, there were 12 LPGA tournaments with purses of at least $1 million or more and none with purses of $2 million or higher. In 2005, the LPGA schedule features 30 tournaments with purses of $1 million or more and four events offering at least $2 million. During that same period, the average purse rose from just more than $840,000 in 1999 to $1.4 million in 2005, with total prize money of $45 million this season, the most in LPGA history.
The increased economic opportunities for our players is a direct result of two factors: the exponential growth of talent and entertainment value embodied by LPGA Tour members and the recognition and support of that talent and entertainment value by our fans, our tournaments and our sponsors, said Votaw. One couldnt happen without the other, and I am deeply appreciative of the hard work everyone associated with the LPGA has done to make the LPGA stronger during my tenure.
Ty has been a great leader for the LPGA, said Heather Daly-Donofrio, president of the LPGA Tour and a member of the LPGA Board of Directors. Ty has instituted many new initiatives for our organization, resulting in higher purses for our players, significant sponsorship support and increased television exposure for our Tour. On behalf of the entire Tour membership, I thank Ty for all he has done to strengthen the LPGAs position as the No. 1 womens sports organization in the world.
With the announcement from Votaw, the LPGA Board of Directors has established a Search Committee to identify candidates for the next LPGA commissioner.
'I am pleased to announce that the LPGA Board of Directors has finalized a Search Committee to identify qualified candidates for the associations next commissioner, said Marguerite Sallee, chairman of the LPGA Board of Directors.
The search committee is being co-chaired by Heather Daly-Donofrio, president of the LPGA Tour, and Rae Forker Evans, one of the five independent members of the LPGA Board of Directors. The balance of the Search Committee is comprised of LPGA Board of Directors Patti Benson, Dawn Hudson and Charles S. Mechem Jr., commissioner emeritus of the LPGA, and LPGA Tour players Beth Daniel, Lorie Kane, Laura Davies and Deb Richard. LPGA TSA President Jack Benjamin will also serve on the Search Committee in an ex-officio non-voting capacity.