You don't need to get me a Christmas gift, just more press conferences with the Commissioners. Here's Ms. Bivens speaking at the ADT Championship, played at Trump International...
CAROLYN BIVENS: Thanks, Paul. Good morning. As Paul said, this is a very special week for us. I want to start it off by seeing some folks in the back of the room that need to be thanked. I want to thank the ADT people for making this possible. Thank you. All right. I know that you are looking forward to a fantastic tournament and so are we.Actually, that was Tim Finchem pulling the plug because he heard you were announcing a drug testing program.
The ADT Championship is the culmination of a lot of hard work and planning by a lot of people. And I think we just lost electricity. I wasn't so much worried about the lights I was worried about the air conditioning. (Laughter.)
It's been a remarkable season on the LPGA Tour and these girls have really rocked out on the field.Remember, I merely copy and paste this stuff.
Cultural icon and inspiration to the entire nation of Mexico, Lorena Ochoa ended the Webb Sorenstam stranglehold of the Rolex Player of the Year honors by securing the title on Sunday.Cultural icon?
All of these dramatic finishes, and incredible performances have translated to more fans watching the LPGA and its stars than ever before.Nice touch repeating that. Really strong on the emphasis. Gosh she's good.
Our cable viewership is up 59 percent from 2005. Let me say that one more time, 59 percent from 2005.
So you combine the financial gains with our increases in popularity, the LPGA.com traffic, attendance numbers and television viewership, and it's easy to see that the LPGA has made incredible strides and we're all celebrating those successes. I'm very proud of what has been accomplished by the members of the staff of the LPGA year over year. The road wasn't without some bumps. That's one way to characterize them, along the way. But we came into this knowing that change wasn't easy. So we kept our eyes straight ahead, and we kept our direction.Work those metaphors!
But the LPGA senior staff and I have spent a great majority of the last two months working into 2008, 2009 and 2010. What we will be in three years is not what we were last season. And not what we're going to look like this time next year. But that's the point. We have to continue to evolve.Talk about a rally killer!
To that end, I want to announce that with the beginning of the 2008 season, the LPGA will institute a drug testing policy for participants in the LPGA Tour.
Over the next year we'll work to establish the LPGA's policy with the National Center for Drug Free Sport. This is going to be an aim to implement the program at the beginning of the season in 2008.Oooo...a partnership. Not only is she doing testing, but joining up with a fully branded feel good organization. Take that Tim!
We have the most talented and marketable trend setting group of athletes that a sport could ask for. And we're providing value for the rest of the world, and we're beginning to benefit from a product that's turning in a great return on investment and the best is yet to come.Wow, not a single paragraph of MBAspeak and then that. She was doing so well too!
I want to thank you for your time and attention, and I'm going to turn the podium over to Zayra, and then we are going to go to Chris for the 2007 schedule. Zayra, CEO, Duramed Futures Tour.Not really.
ZAYRA CALDERON: I don't have to adjust the mic. I think I'm about an inch taller than Carolyn, that's about it.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for the opportunity. Have you thought about what happened to that All American collegiate player before you saw her again after college who played on the LPGA? Where was she?
I have the answer of course. She was playing one or two seasons maybe even three on the Duramed Futures Tour, getting ready to win, getting ready to kick in the door of the LPGA. Our mission has remained the same for over 25 years, to provide the best professional women golfers from around the world, the optimum environment to get ready to move on for a career on the LPGA.That's great. Time to hit the fast forward button.
The strategic plan basically aims at aligning the Duramed Futures Tour, in all aspects of our business, with the LPGA.Hmmmm...what's it going to be? A move to bigger markets? Maybe a fourball event with LPGAers and Futures players?
We realize that we must have shared values and objectives so that we can make the transition for our players onto the LPGA seem less. We also realize that collaborating with one another will only reinforce our position in professional women's golf and it will help both organizations increase our market share. We want more fans. We want more tournaments. We want more sponsors. We want more money and together we can do that better. Aligning with the LPGA will also allow the two organizations to capitalize on the synergies that are obvious to both organizations. So we have a plan that begins 2007.
Oh what was I thinking. It's been a while since we've talked about you know what...
We will embark on the National Branding Campaign.Nice touch putting it in caps. Okay, time for Chris Higgs to talk about the schedule...
We will see the debut of three previously announced tournaments. The NW Arkansas LPGA Classic, the Navistar LPGA Classic, and the Ginn Tribute hosted by Annika Sorenstam.Jeese I know the gals are hitting it a long way, but wedges and putters into the Road green? Maybe that drug testing needs to start sooner.
Women's professional golf will enjoy a history making stop at St. Andrews when the Weetabix Women's British Open is held on the old course.
As many of you will recall, this was announced at the inaugural World Congress of Women's golf. And since that time, this day and this event has been eagerly anticipated by all of the players, the fans and the media. I think all eyes will be on those who have seen the history of the old course and wondering what will they do on the Road Hole. Will they make the failed mistake and use the wedge when they should have used the putter?
PAUL ROVNAK: Thank you, Chris. I would like to welcome back Commissioner Bivens to the podium for any questions you might have for her or any of our speakers.Oh boy, starting to get a little fragmented here. Is that air conditioning on?
Q. Carolyn, what's your biggest achievement you think this your first full year and biggest regret, if there is one thing you can change? Is the ShopRite (LPGA Classic) still a possibility for that May 17th through 20th?
CAROLYN BIVENS: No, the ShopRite (LPGA Classic) is not a possibility for May 17th.
The biggest accomplishment? The biggest accomplishment is that we put a really good foundation on top of this great organization to be able to conduct business as business going forward. It wasn't easy. And as I said earlier, the road wasn't always smooth. But we now are positioned to being able to do business with title sponsors existing as well as new. So we made some major moves there.
I think you will begin to see some of the things that the staff, and the board of directors, particularly the Executive Committee. Heather, the out going president of the Executive Committee and member of the board of directors. Heather and the Executive Committee have been terrific this year.
One of our goals that I feel very good about is we opened things up in every one of the player meetings. What we've tried to do, this is a member owned association. We want the members to understand more about this business that they own. I talk about them as being our shareholders. So where the money comes from, how it's made, where it goes, what are the priorities, all players, but beginning with the Executive Committee but with the help of the staff we made great progress in that this year. I feel terrific about that.Nice, a little family values touch there.
What do I regret? I regret having to call my mom and dad so many times and say don't open the newspaper today, you're not going to like it. (Laughter). And I'm going to leave it there.
As you all know, I come from a business background. We do a lot of scenario planning going forward. I'm used to that. We also do a lot of critiquing. After every event that I've been part of in my career, part of the process is to sit down soon after and look back and say, what could you have done differently? If you knew then what you knew now, what would you do differently? And I have yet to participate in anything that was perfect, or anything that I wouldn't have done differently based on the learning that I got going through it. And I put this year under that heading as well.Based on the learning that I got going through it? Hmmm...looks like someone needs to ask if maybe skipping English 101 wasn't such a hot idea.
Q. Carolyn, I want to ask you, there were issues with the Tournament Owners Association, I know you met with them Monday or Tuesday earlier this week, and there were issues over sanctioning fees. If I look at this right, outside of the four tournaments that you lost, it would appear that everybody renewed, so there must have been some resolution with the sanctioning fees. Can you address the sanctioning fee issue and how that was resolved?
CAROLYN BIVENS: The sanctioning fee was actually resolved back in January, you wouldn't have necessarily known it from the media reports.I think that was a zinger!
Q. How fitting is it that the first million dollar paycheck is on Donald Trump's course?CAROLYN BIVENS: It makes it a lot more fun, doesn't it?
Oh it does, especially if one of the inmates at the nearby prison can be heard heckling a player coming down the stretch.
I don't know if you were out there. We got buzzed by the Donald Trump's airplane. Donald has been terrific for the LPGA. He has been a long time supporter. He is very supportive of women overall, and we're very appreciative of the support that he's given to the LPGA.
Yes he is a supporter of women. Ivana, Marla and...right.
Q. How badly do you want the final putt on 18 to be for a million bucks?
CAROLYN BIVENS: How bad do I want the final putt? I'd love to see a playoff.