The Bivens Files

Leonard Shapiro of the Washington Post sat down for an interview with the LPGA's Commissioner and brand development specialist prior to this week's first major.

"It's a matter of taking a product that's really on the upswing and figuring out how to market it," she said in a recent interview at tour headquarters in Daytona Beach, Fla. "What motivates me now is making certain there will never be another generation of women who leave the game without having realized economic stability.

"We're changing the business model for how we operate. It's all aspects -- the way we run tournaments, the way we structure them. We're looking at health care options and retirement options. It includes figuring out whether we want to own our own real estate. We're looking at everything."

LTPC's...just what the world needs.

Asked about Augusta National Golf Club's all-male membership policy, she said: "I do believe a woman should be a member. It is a private club and they do have the right to invite private members, and I do believe at some point they will invite a woman. I just hope it's soon, and I do think Nancy Lopez would be ideal for them."

You go Carolyn! Take that Martha!

As for the media regulations boondoggle, Bivens told Peter Yoon of the LA Times that there is a black market for LPGA related photos that is cutting into revenues. Yoon writes:

Bivens said the regulations were designed to give the tour more control over how it is branded, much like other major sports leagues.

It was also an attempt to slow the proliferation of black-market photographs often taken by credentialed photographers under the guise of working for a news agency.

"The regulations were not directed at the mainstream media at all," Bivens said. "Everything hinged on the commercial use of the images and stories. It was not an attempt to step on 1st Amendment rights."

Paul Swangard, managing director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon, said the regulations were a good idea gone bad.

"Some would sort of scoff at some of those policies," he said. "Too much control can work against you."

Gee, you think?

Swangard, the sports marketing expert, said Bivens' next moves are critical.

"The LPGA sits at an interesting transition point," Swangard said. "It's climbed one flight of stairs, but it's still trying to find its place. The issue now is how to attack the next flight of stairs."

Nothing like a good stair metaphor to put things in perspective.