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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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

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Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

Hoylake in 2006.

That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

“The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”