BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens reportedly is on the way out as leader of the tour after calls for her resignation by key players.
Golf Digest and GolfWeek Magazine reported on their Web sites Thursday that the embattled commissioner will be replaced.
Golf Digest cites multiple sources saying Bivens’s four-year tenure could end as soon as next week.
Bivens has 18 months left on a three-year contract extension signed in early 2008. Citing a source in tournament management, Golf Digest reported that a general agreement on financial terms was reached with Bivens late Wednesday.
A faction of tour players had sent a letter to the LPGA Tour board seeking Bivens’ ouster. In the letter, the group said the tour’s problems can’t be blamed on a poor economy and a new leader is needed.
All that remains to be determined now, according to Golf Digest, is when Bivens leaves.
“She’s gone. It’s just a question of whether it’s a firing or a resignation,” one veteran player, described as a Bivens supporter, told Golf Digest. “And she doesn’t deserve any of it.”
LPGA Tour spokesman David Higdon reiterated his statement from earlier in the week, saying the tour will not comment on internal matters.
The LPGA Tour has lost seven tournaments since 2007, and there have been a number of controversies under Bivens’ tenure.
In 2008, she proposed an English-only policy for tour players, but it was never instituted. The LPGA includes 121 international players from 26 countries, including 45 from South Korea.
In October 2006, she was accused by officials of the now-defunct tour event near Atlantic City, N.J., of backing out on a promise to maintain a longtime event.
The news that Bivens will soon leave the organization came near the completion of the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open – the biggest weekend of the season in women’s golf.
But players have spent the week sidestepping questions about the brouhaha, forced to deal with the controversy as much as the golf course.
The letter sent to the LPGA Tour board was reportedly signed by more than a dozen players, GolfWeek Magazine reported when it broke the story Monday.
Golf Digest reported the letter was signed by marquee tour players Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel, Lorena Ochoa, Cristie Kerr, Se Ri Pak, Suzann Pettersen and Natalie Gulbis, among others. In it, the players called for the installation of temporary leadership while a search is conducted for a new commissioner, the magazine reported.
A source involved with tournament ownership told Golf Digest, “No confidence by the players is a dagger in her heart.”
Two-time Women’s Open champion Meg Mallon wanted the tour’s troubles addressed, but would have rather waited until after the season.
“It’s a very sad thing that is going on,” Mallon told The Associated Press after her first round of the Open, and before news of Biven’s apparent demise was reported. “I was a proponent of having the problems solved after the end of the year. … As far as that goes, I wish it wasn’t happening right now.”