Monday, July 13, 2009

The LPGA announced in a press release Monday that Rear Admiral Marsha J. Evans, U.S. Navy (retired) will serve as the player association's acting commissioner, effective immediately. Commissioner Carolyn Bivens also announced her resignation Monday.In addition to this appointment, the association also announced that Annika Sorenstam will become an advisor to the tour's board of directors.  “Obviously, I will do everything possible to ensure that the LPGA remains the pre-eminent women’s sports association in the world,” Sorenstam said in a release from the tour. “I’m committed to getting up to speed quickly on the challenges facing the board right now, and will assist the LPGA in a number of ways both immediately and long-term.”LPGA board member Leslie Greis, as well as board members Juli Inkster, Helen Alfredsson and Bill Morton, will lead the executive search committee, with the help of the executive search firm Spencer Stuart. “We’ll soon have in place a commissioner to lead us into 2010 and beyond, but until then, it’s important that we immediately appoint an acting commissioner whom we know and trust,” Board of Directors Chairman Dawn Hudson said in the release. “As a board of players and independent directors, we wanted an acting commissioner with experience leading large organizations, one who appreciates and listens to our player members and tournament owners, understands sponsors and their challenges and needs, and has a track record that commands respect. We’re pleased that Marty Evans will be our acting commissioner, as she fits all the criteria necessary during these challenging economic times for sports leagues."During her career, Evans has held top positions at the American Red Cross and Girl Scouts of the USA. Most recently she has served on the Board of Directors of the LPGA.Recently, several prominent players met during the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic to discuss their displeasure with Bivens's reign as commissioner. Since 2007, the LPGA has lost seven tournaments. The players then sent a letter to the board of directors calling for Bivens to resign. According to Golf Week, the letter said the tour's problems couldn't all be blamed on a poor economy and "expressed a desire to rebuild relationships with longtime sponsors."In the release, Bivens stated that she was proud of what she accomplished during her tenure at the LPGA. "My job was to be a change agent, to help move the LPGA into the strongest possible position to ensure its future. Those changes were only possible because the members are dynamic women who provide great value to our sponsors and tournaments," she said.  "It is time to turn this organization over to someone who can build on the solid foundation we’ve established. I wish the LPGA and its members nothing but fairways and greens as it enters its 60th year.” LPGA Board of Directors President Michelle Ellis was also quoted in the release: “We respect Carolyn’s decision to resign since she has led this organization professionally and passionately the past four years. We appreciate the unwavering commitment that she provided the LPGA, and during her four years, Carolyn accomplished a great deal for the LPGA and its player members.”

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