Not a lot of positive coverage for the Brand Lady, and the theme is pretty consistent: sponsor relations stink.
Richard Oliver talks to Wendy Ward who has plenty of interesting things to say, including this:
“I am a business major; however, I am not a business professional,” said Ward, who earned a business management degree from Arizona State in 1995. “I play golf for a living. But one of the key responsibilities as a professional golfer is to maintain relationships with my sponsors. If we don't keep the sponsors happy, then we lose their interest.”
Lorne Rubenstein checks in with one of the healthier LPGA events--the Canadian Women's Open--and talks to Tournament Owners Association president Gail Graham. She explains how the Bivens put-up-shut-up approach isn't working.
Jill Painter says it's time for Bivens to go.
Bivens just doesn't get it.
She was the first female commissioner of the LPGA Tour, and Bivens didn't seize it. She's made one puzzling move after another and reportedly now is completely unyielding in negotiations with tour sponsors. The tour has lost seven tournaments since 2007. Even the PGA Tour has lost sponsors in this troubled economy but has managed to remain viable.
Earlier this year, the LPGA announced a new tournament in Los Angeles, and Bivens was in Beverly Hills for a news conference with a handful of foreign media. None of the major Los Angeles news outlets, including television stations, newspapers or Web sites, were invited to attend.
It was a puzzling omission.
Wow, and here I just assumed my invite was lost in the mail.
Len Shapiro continues the theme, talking to Kris Tschetter:
"The mistake she made is that she walked in and said 'this is what we're going to do,' and she did not get a lot of people on her side," Tschetter said. "Tournament directors didn't like her because they felt she was telling them 'my way or the highway.' Someone else might have been wiser to go a little slower with it. She was not as willing to be creative as these economic times probably would have called for.
"The bottom line is we want to play tournaments. My goodness, some of these younger girls are probably thinking we're only going to have 10 events [in the U.S.] next year. The players are thinking we've got to do whatever it takes to get this thing right. I understand both sides of it. But you just hear too many tournament directors and sponsors saying she's too hard to deal with."
And finally, Dave Seanor envisions a world where the PGA Tour or IMG take over the struggling LPGA Tour. Heaven help us.