Bivens: "If I’m overshooting, then the marketplace won’t replace tournaments...there will be a new commissioner"

Thanks to LPGA Fan for the latest warm-fuzzies from Carolyn Bivens, who surely must be finding herself courted by several Fortune 500 companies by now.

Rob Oller writes in The Columbus Dispatch:

Bivens, in just more than one year, has encouraged players and frustrated the Tournament Owners Association with her fresh ideas on what the LPGA business model should be. Her view is that the tour needs to start acting like it belongs with the "big boys" of sports — football, baseball basketball, PGA Tour — and part of the plan includes providing health benefits to the players and increasing their retirement fund.

It also means asking tournaments, such as the Wendy’s Championship for Children, to dig deeper into their pockets to invest in the tour’s growth and also help defray costs that the tour has paid for years. For example, the tour is planning to require tournaments to pay for the electronic scoreboards that dot courses. Currently, the Tour splits those costs (about $30,000 each) with the sites.

"The status quo gets the LPGA less than an acceptable marketing budget," Bivens said yesterday at Tartan Fields Golf Club.

Just think of a world without "These Girls Rock" posters. See why charity must suffer?

Tournament directors who wonder how they will raise the additional money need to look around, Bivens said.

"It’s no different than any other corporation or private citizen," she said. "You figure out your salary is X, your expenses are Y. If you’ve got a mortgage that the interest rate is going up next year, you’ve got to figure out … do you take an extra job? It’s life."

Or maybe death, if you happen to be a tournament organizer.

"I think (Bivens) wants to raise the standard of operating practices, which is great. We should all challenge ourselves to be better," Wendy’s tournament director Kip Eriksen said. "I look at that (issue) a little different from the ($100,000) funding request."

Eriksen, who is a member of the Tournament Owners Association, said the owners want a clearer picture of what Bivens’ proposals will look like and how they will affect their tournaments.

"What is the return for us on the incremental investment," he said. "The tour will get better. What does that mean? How does that translate to the Wendy’s Championship? "

Eriksen also thinks he knows how sponsors will react when tournaments approach them for more money.

"They’re going to say, ‘What do we get in return?’ " he said.

And if Bivens is wrong and is aiming too high?

"If I’m overshooting, then the marketplace won’t replace tournaments. There won’t be more sponsors and there will be a new commissioner," she said.

You? Overshoot? That's hard to fathom.

Meanwhile, Gordon White in The Pilot lumps Bivens in with Maurice Clarett, Duke lacrosse and everything else he sees that is wrong with sports. Now that's positive branding.