More Carolyn

Jim Ducibella of the Virginian-Pilot sat down with LPGA brand lady Carolyn Bivens for a little lesson in white papers and brand planning.
Q: Eight months into it, how much of your strategic plan is in place?

A: No one outside of the LPGA has seen any aspect of my strategic plan. (Former commissioner) Ty Votaw and the staff worked very hard to set up 2006, and most of it was set up in 2004 and 2005. Television contracts were signed. Tournaments were signed. Contracts dictating the look and feel of the LPGA brand were in place. The strategic plan and analysis we've been doing behind the scenes won't show up in large measure until 2007.
Oh goodie, something to look forward to. I wonder if this "look and feel" of the brand includes playing tournaments on decent golf courses?
Q: In December, you hosted the first-ever "Phenoms to Pros" forum to address the issue of more and more young athletes turning pro. Commissioners from the NBA, NHL, MLS and the CEO of the Women's Tennis Association convened at your invitation. Did anything come out of that?

A: A white paper was generated out of it that summarized the key issues. We've convened a panel that is studying the white paper and our intention is to recommend a change to the LPGA constitution before the end of the year.
Can't wait for that document to find its way into the hands of some crafty writer.
Q: You didn't come up through the LPGA. Is there a benefit to not knowing how your predecessor handled things because it allows you to set your agenda without the influences of the past?

A: There are pluses and minuses. I've tried to make sure that (to overcome) what was perceived as a weakness - that I'd not come up in the world of sports marketing and golf - I've surrounded myself with people who are. I've made sure that the players, the tournament sponsors and others are all represented when we're making a major directional decision. I also think there are advantages to coming from the outside. I'm not so tied to the tradition of, 'This is the way things have to be.'
A directional decision? Nice. Take that Commissioner Finchem!