Evian Nightmare Continues: Lexi Leaves Passport In Her Golf Bag And All Hell Breaks Loose

As if the disaster that is the Evian-as-a-major hasn’t been embarrassing enough for the LPGA’s Commissioner. After all, Mike Whan forced the event into a new date to avoid September’s regular rains (so it rained) and the fifth major—designated so by him—was played last week as a precursor to this week’s Women’s British Open.

Nothing screams quality like back-to-back majors.

And it’s not like this is the first time for the Evian as a major…debacle.

Slow play issues went viral and course conditioning gripes plagued the event again, but mercifully this substandard product was seen in the wee hours on Golf Channel or CNBC, where the event had to go because the schedule had long been set with the Senior Open, WGC FedEx and Barracuda.

And now, this.

I could try to describe the scenario explained by Randall Mell at GolfChannel.com, but I’ll trust you to hit the link and find out how Lexi Thompson’s missing passport caused forty players to not have their clubs at the Women’s British on Monday.

Drive on!

LPGA's Whan Still Yearning To Get His Tour More Broadcast Network Airtime

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Intriguing stance by Commish Mike Whan’s in believing network television is still the place to get more notoriety and purse growth for the LPGA Tour. From Beth Ann Nichols’ Golfweek story posted after Whan discussed the close on a two-year Golf Channel extension and the PGA Tour’s involvement in handling negotiations:

Whan points to current No. 1 Jin Young Ko as a prime example.

“If you gave me 39 weekends a year, I promise you I could make you love Jin Young Ko,” said Whan. “You’re going to get to know her story and swing. You see her five times a year, she’s just a name I can’t pronounce. That’s a shame. If you give me 39 weeks there’s a lot of guys on the PGA Tour I wouldn’t care about.… When they become people you know, you want to watch them.”

However, as the Nichols story points out, the U.S. Women’s Open on Fox was outdrawn by NBC network broadcasts of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Diamond Resorts TOC, with strong Golf Channel and promotional tie-ins on other NBC outlets, suggesting that a mere broadcast network presence isn’t enough.

It’s also hard to see a broadcast network taking on the LPGA Tour at the PGA Tour’s negotiating insistence when even PGA Tour events do not all get broadcast network coverage. Seems obvious who will get priority in negotiations, but stranger things have happened.

Whan Admits Error In Moving Evian, Pledges Change

After one of the great disasters in modern major history, the beleaguered Evian Championship will be moving back to a summer date by 2019 according to the man who switched it, LPGA Commish Mike Whan.

Speaking to Damon Hack on Morning Drive, Whan admitted this year's rain-shortened event has him rethinking things. Randall Mell reports on this and other LPGA news from the interview.

“We will get Evian back to a summer date,” Whan pledged. “It may not be in ’18, but certainly by ’19.”

Whan said he believes in Evian as an LPGA major, but he regrets his decision to move the event to September, with its rainy season and its shorter days.

“The challenges we’ve faced are man-made,” Whan said. “And I’m the man who made them.”

Kudos to Whan for finally coming around and admitting to the mistake.

LPGA Announces 2012 Slate Well Before Its First 2012 Event!

Ron Sirak breaks down the additions to the LPGA Tour's 27-event schedule and says this "very well be the most crucial corner turned in a seemingly endless series of twists and turns during the 62-year history of the tour.

Golf Channel's Randall Mell also gives the LPGA a big thumb's up, saying "The ship doesn’t look like its foundering anymore."

"Quite frankly, one of the things I think we learned in 2008 and ’09 is to really respect that.”

Beth Ann Baldry reports on Mike Whan's first LPGA player meeting. It sounds like the Commish has learned that Plan 2010, or whatever it was the Brand Lady tried to shove down sponsor throats, is best kept on the shelf until times are better.

When Whan was asked how he’d describe the tour these days, he said “re-emerging.” They’re in the business of renewals, and he’s reaching out to all the partners who parted ways in the past several years.

“We’re tied to the business partners we’re with,” he said. “If they’re hurting, we’re hurting. Quite frankly, one of the things I think we learned in 2008 and ’09 is to really respect that.”

"I hurt my back pulling my reserved space sign out of a cement base in the parking lot at the LPGA Tour headquarters in Daytona Beach. I don't want a special space."

Farrell Evans catches up with new LPGA Commish Mike Whan and I don't know about you, but The Metamucil Man has a nice ring to it, no?

You started your career at Procter & Gamble, where you were the lead brand manager for Metamucil and Crest, among other roles. How different is marketing Metamucil and toothpaste from women's golf?

This isn't my first time marketing to women. Crest's core audience consisted of women. But really the most important thing I think in marketing is getting to know what people want. I have spent most of my time in the new job asking questions and listening to learn the business.

And this was a great question by Farrell and quite a funny scene to imagine:

What's the funniest thing that's happened to you on the job so far?

I hurt my back pulling my reserved space sign out of a cement base in the parking lot at the LPGA Tour headquarters in Daytona Beach. I don't want a special space. This isn't the Mike Whan Tour. It's about the players, fans and corporate partners. We're all in the same foxhole.

"In other words, outsourcing is great thing. In fact, it’s worked so well in our downtrodden economy over the past 10 years that the hunch here is it will have a similar effect for the LPGA."

Love the passion in Bill Huffman's take on the LPGA leaving Phoenix. Seems Bill reads the USA Today and was not too taken with Commissioner Mike Whan dropping the "G" word in a story authored by Steve DiMeglio. No, not Tim Finchem's growth mantra, but the other "G" word due to become Finchem's new favorite after his Asian trip.
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“What I’m most proud of in my career is that I’ve built brands; I’ve built them globally, and I’ve left them significantly larger than when I joined them"

Beth Ann Baldry files this profile of new LPGA Commish Mike Whan (family man, Midwest values, looks you in the eye, yada, yada, yada). 

You know, I've read four or five stories on the hockey stick dude and I still couldn't tell you the name of this glorious brand he built.

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