"Bivens cost the tour $824,345 in salary, bonuses and benefits in 2008, up from $522,000 in 2007."

Jon Show scoured the LPGA's IRS filings and reports that their recent staff purge knocked $1 million in salary off the books, but far more amazing was this revelation about the Brand Lady:

Bivens cost the tour $824,345 in salary, bonuses and benefits in 2008, up from $522,000 in 2007. She cost the LPGA $710,812 in compensation and benefits in 2006, which was her only other full year in the job.

"The interim commissioner, Marsha Evans, logged about 45,000 air miles to clean up after Bivens and salvage next season."

Thanks to reader Rick for Karen Crouse's look at the hardship the new LPGA schedule inflicts on players down the money list, focusing on Reilly Rankin.

I couldn't help but notice this little jab:

The L.P.G.A. is a model of diversity and inclusion that has been at the forefront of globalization. And yet it is wobblier than it has been since its infancy in the early 1950s. In July, a player revolt led to the resignation of the commissioner, Carolyn Bivens, who had secured only nine contracts for 2010 events.

The interim commissioner, Marsha Evans, logged about 45,000 air miles to clean up after Bivens and salvage next season. Michael Whan was named the eighth commissioner in the organization’s 59-year history in October and will officially take the reins in January.

“I think that we should be commending Marty for making a difference in getting some relationships back on track,” Lorie Kane, a tour veteran, said of Evans.

“What I’m most proud of in my career is that I’ve built brands; I’ve built them globally, and I’ve left them significantly larger than when I joined them"

Beth Ann Baldry files this profile of new LPGA Commish Mike Whan (family man, Midwest values, looks you in the eye, yada, yada, yada). 

You know, I've read four or five stories on the hockey stick dude and I still couldn't tell you the name of this glorious brand he built.

Read More

See, Bivens Was A Visionary!

Granted, wrong tour, but look at the insights we could glean if players were allowed to Tweet mid round.

As Stephanie Wei notes, the USGA says there's nothing in the rules that forbids the use of an electronic device during a round. However, I thought we decided this was a no-no since with Twitter or any phone that a player could receive advice?

"The two tours can even do co-ed events. Golf needs to think outside the box on things like this, find new ways to market itself."

A few stories on the official resignation of Carolyn Bivens and the naming of Marsha Evans as interim LPGA chief, starting with Ron Sirak who writes about Evans and the search for a Bivens replacement:

In 2005 she stepped down as CEO of the American Red Cross after a battle with the board of governors over what it called her "command-and-control" management style, according to the Washington Post. A search committee comprised of board members Leslie Gries, Juli Inkster, Helen Alfredsson and Bill Morton will work with the search firm Spencer Stuart to find a full-time replacement.

This little buried item was interesting:

Among the ideas being kicked around by some players is taking on a business partner with deep pockets to manage the LPGA, such as the PGA Tour. The two tours could coordinate schedules and have LPGA events end at 3 p.m. on Sunday, for example, before the PGA Tour television coverage begins. Or the LPGA could end on Saturday -- marketing it as Championship Saturday.

"It's a no-brainer," one agent said. "The two tours can even do co-ed events. Golf needs to think outside the box on things like this, find new ways to market itself."

Michael Buteau also looks at Evans and her past while Gene Yasuda notes that LPGA board member Dawn Hudson spent most of the announcement praising Carolyn Bivens and explains where the tour goes from here. There was also this item lost in much of the day's coverage:

It appointed Annika Sorenstam as advisor to the LPGA Board of Directors, and promoted Zayra Calderon, the tour’s senior vice president of worldwide sales, to executive vice president, tournament development and worldwide sales. Known as an engaging relationship-builder, Calderon will oversee all tournament business affairs and is charged with, arguably, the tour’s top priority: Working with tournament owners and title sponsors to secure renewals, and landing new business partners.

And finally, an unbylined AP story features this quote from Juli Inkster:

"Carolyn did a lot of great things. She tried to stand up for the LPGA, which no one has done in a long time,'' said Juli Inkster, a tour veteran and member of the board. "I just think her delivery on the whole thing was not the best.''

Rear Admiral's Reign Off To A Rip-Roaring Start

Let's review.

- The LPGA sends out an announcement and then amends it to remind everyone that it is embargoed. The announcement release says that a 1 p.m. EST press conference will be held on the Golf Channel. But since it's embargoed, no one can write even a Tweet or blog post suggesting LPGA fans could tune in to The Golf Channel to find out what the event is about.

- The LPGA allows no media (other than Golf Channel) present at this "announcement" to ask questions. We did have Christina Kim present and Annika Sorenstam on a phone line that died almost as soon as she started talking.

- Carolyn Bivens is present at the announcement of her resignation and is shown on television, but she does not speak. Cynics will presume that her presence indicates she received a substantial buyout. And why will cynics presume this?

- Marsha Evans is named the interim commissioner. A Bivens selected board member, Evans is a specialist in bouncing around boards and other executive jobs. She was on the Lehman Brothers board and we know how that turned out. She received a $780,000 buyout after resigning as head of the Red Cross just days before a likely humiliating Hurricane Katrina congressional hearing.

- She's got a husband and he likes golf! Marty DeVine in an extensive profile detailing her career, her campaigning for McCain/Palin and other information, includes this: "Nonprofits have tapped her talents as well and she serves on the boards of the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, which raises money to support education of midshipmen beyond what the federal budget provides, and the Ladies Professional Golf Association. An avid golfer, her husband Jerry particularly enjoys the LPGA board meetings in prime golfing sites."

- The in-studio analysis job from Kelly Tilghman, Laura Baugh and Charlie Rymer with most of the conversation sounding like an LPGA infomercial and Baugh seeming to imply that the non-English speaking players were part of the Bivens downfall. Oy.

- But hey, Bivens is gone and that's a start. But with all but one Board member not appointed during her tenure, it's hard to imagine this amounting to a sea change for the organization.

Marsha: They want you as a new recruit!

Anne Szeker reports that retired Navy rear admiral Marsha Evans has been named interim LPGA Commissioner after Carolyn Bivens officially resigned.

"We're looking for someone for four, five months, three or four months, to just right the ship"

This unbylined AP story quoting Juli Inkster would seem to speak to the urgency of salvaging the 2010 schedule, something we speculated about here to explain the otherwise awful timing of the Bivens ouster.

Inkster said it's important for the board to find the right person to lead the tour into the future. In the short term, the need is immediate.

"Right now, we're in the middle of the season,'' Inkster said. "We're looking for someone for four, five months, three or four months, to just right the ship, get us going in the right direction: straight ahead.''
Inkster said the board plans on taking its time to find a new commissioner.

"Right now, we want to take our time and find the right person for the job,'' she said. "And you can't do that on a whim.''

LPGA Already Posts Craigslist Ad

While Alan Bastable finds one candidate already throwing her visor into the mix (Jan Stephenson), I was looking around Craigslist's job ads for the C-level gig I've always deserved and after working through most of the southeast, finally caved and went through the Florida ads.

You have to give the LPGA Tour points for already getting this ad up on Craigslist. For people who didn't want to overshadow the U.S. Open, they sure work fast!

(click on image to enlarge)

Carolyn, We Hardly Knew Ya Could Last As Long As Ya Did

GolfDigest.com's Ron Sirak was first to break it, and Beth Ann Baldry at Golfweek.com wasn't too far behind.

The Brand Lady is done. I'm shocked. Shocked that it took so long for this day to come.

Sirak says:

"The letter was a death sentence," one source within the LPGA told GolfDigest.com. "No confidence by the players is a dagger in her heart," said a second source, this one involved in tournament ownership.
Bivens has 18 months left on the three-year contract extension she signed at the beginning of 2008. Her salary, according to LPGA tax filings, is $500,000 a year. According to a source in tournament management, a general agreement with Bivens on financial terms was reached late Wednesday.

The only remaining questions surround when Bivens leaves office and how her departure is framed. "She's gone. It's just a question of whether it's a firing or a resignation," said one veteran player, a Bivens supporter. "And she doesn't deserve any of it."

LPGA Issues Non-Denial Denial

SI's Ryan Reiterman says the LPGA Tour is privately refuting any Brand Lady buyout talk, and gets this statement:

"As we've said throughout the week, we want all of those interested in women's professional golf to focus on the play here at the U.S. Women's Open, which has started today and will conclude this weekend when the 2009 champion is crowned. Out of respect to the USGA and the amazing work that they've done and continue to do in producing and hosting this great event, we will not respond to media reports on internal matters related to the LPGA business. The LPGA players, staff and Board care deeply about our Tour, and we're all working hard to achieve the same long-term objective to grow our Tour. We look forward to a great week of golf."

Report: Bivens Buy Out Negotiations Commence; Replacement Search Already Underway

Just as she received a vote of confidence from two Hall of Famers as Garry Smits reports, Sports Business Daily says that buyout talks have begun and a headhunter is already making calls to potential LPGA Commissioner replacements. Here's an AP summary of the SBD story for those who are not subscribers.