With the LPGA’s board of directors officially announcing Wednesday morning that a new “long-term contract extension” with commissioner Mike Whan has been agreed upon, Whan responded with a letter to his organization.
“I’m not done!” he assured membership and tour partners.
Whan, 54, has overseen a major reconstruction of the tour, rebuilding a foundering ship that players feared was on the verge of collapse when he took over as the tour’s eighth commissioner 10 years ago. His letter recounts the success he wants members and partners to celebrate and outlines goals he wants to continue to pursue.
He put special emphasis on the LPGA’s opportunity to advance larger causes, including closing the gender pay gap.
“If a company’s stated values are to provide equal opportunities for women to advance and succeed, why wouldn’t their marketing/sponsorship dollars reflect that?” Whan wrote. “How is it that nearly every company claims equal opportunity is a cornerstone of their business, but 95% of all corporate sports sponsorship dollars are spent on male sports? There is no doubt we’re at a tipping point and more executives, shareholders and investors are questioning whether their corporate values are reflected in every aspect of their company, including marketing and sponsorship decisions. Increased corporate support translates into more opportunities for women in golf and more opportunities for female athletes to be seen as role models of confidence, ability and accomplishment.”
Whan challenged members to use their platforms to continue to lead.
“One of the things I’ve learned from the past 10 years is I like being the underdog,” he wrote. “I like it when others bet against us. I like the fact that some people think we’re satisfied with our progress ... when the truth is, we’re just getting started!
“The next 10 years begins soon! Are you ready?”
Outgoing LPGA board chair Peter Carfagna announced the new contract extension. Whan took over the LPGA on Jan. 4, 2010. He signed a six-year extension in 2015 that was due to expire after the Olympics next year. His annual salary was reported as $1,126,930 in Golf Digest’s special report on “What People in Golf Earn” in 2018. Terms and length of Whan’s new contract were not released.