Mike Whan announces shock departure as LPGA commissioner

Mike Whan has announced that he is stepping down as the LPGA Commissioner after completing 11 years in the post.

Mike Whan is set to step down as LPGA commissioner in 2021 after 11 years in the post. Picture: Getty Images/LPGA
Mike Whan is set to step down as LPGA commissioner in 2021 after 11 years in the post. Picture: Getty Images/LPGA

Whan, who played a leading role in the Ladies European Tour merging with the LPGA just under a year ago, revealed the shock decision to fellow staff members today.

“When I first joined the LPGA, I told the board it would be a four-year term, giving me time to help the organization achieve its immediate goals,” he said.

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“Now, as the longest-serving LPGA Commissioner, I look back on these 11 years with enormous pride and satisfaction at what we’ve accomplished together to provide opportunities for women to achieve their dreams in golf.

“You may be wondering why I’ve made the decision to step down – and why now? In many ways, this past year – with all the pandemic challenges – was also the LPGA’s most triumphant.

“We are entering 2021 on a wave of momentum – a strong schedule with record purses, new events/sponsors, double-digit viewership growth, and a talented team that demonstrated exceptional skill, resilience and capability to lead through challenging times.

“I simply wouldn’t leave the LPGA if I thought the future was uncertain or not trending straight up. In fact, even after the challenges we faced in 2020, the LPGA has NEVER been more financially secure, deeper in leadership talent, or more anchored by passionate, diverse sponsors from all around the world.

“The LPGA is poised for even greater heights; and as such, I’m excited to hand the baton to the next leader and become their biggest supporter.”

LPGA Board Chair Diane Gulyas described Whan as “a transformational leader of the LPGA”.

She added: “Mike’s leadership legacy will be felt for years: in the LPGA’s financial strength and value proposition; in its global reach; in the breadth of programs and services it now offers for women and girls in golf; and in the diversity and quality of companies wanting to partner with the LPGA.

“He has effectively guided the LPGA through a range of economic cycles and challenges, including the COVID 19 pandemic. And, he has been the voice of our Association and its commitment to opportunities for women in golf.”

While no firm date has been set for his departure, the announcement begins the start of a succession process.

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