Whan reportedly new LPGA commish

Updated: October 27, 2009, 11:05 PM ET
By Bob Harig | ESPN.com

The LPGA Tour will introduce its new commissioner at a Wednesday morning news conference in New York City, and both Golf Digest and Golfweek are reporting that Michael P. Whan, a veteran marketing executive, is the choice to take over for ousted Carolyn Bivens.

A search committee has been quietly interviewing candidates with the hope of having a new commissioner in place in time for next month's season-ending LPGA Tour Championship in Houston.

Bivens, a former executive with USA Today, was forced out as LPGA commissioner in July after a player revolt in the wake of several events losing title sponsorship.

Peter Bevaqua, chief business officer for the United States Golf Association, has widely been reported among the leading candidates for the job. Donna Orender, commissioner of the WNBA and a former executive at the PGA Tour was considered another strong candidate, but she withdrew her name from consideration.

Golfweek magazine obtained a memo from acting commissioner Marty Evans informing players that Whan has "extensive brand management and marketing experience, including two stints in the golf industry with TaylorMade and Wilson."

Most recently Whan has worked as CEO for Mission Itech Hockey. He worked for TaylorMade from 1996 to 2000 before moving on to BriteSmile Inc., which makes a teeth whitening product. Mission Itech Hockey is an equipment company which makes and markets hockey gear for players on ice skates and roller blades. The company was acquired last year by Bauer Hockey.

According to GolfWorld, Whan was offered the job on Friday and accepted the position Monday. Many of the tour's players are competing in Korea this week and have been briefed on the news.

Golfweek reported that Evans, a retired rear admiral, would stay on the rest of the year and Whan would start in January.

Evans is in South Korea for an LPGA event. She has tried in the three months since Bivens was forced out to restore relationships with several LPGA sponsors. The tour has lost key tournaments in Corning, N.Y., and Kingsmill, Va.

It hopes to have about 25 tournaments next year, down from 33 events in 2008.

Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com