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Bivens worst thing to happen to LPGA since, well, ever

By Tim McDonald, Contributor

It's time for Carolyn Bivens to give it up before she can do any more damage. This could be the worst sports commissioner since Judge Landis.

Carolyn Bivens
The smile didn't last long once Bivens took over as LPGA commissioner.
Carolyn BivensMichelle Wie

I'm sitting here trying to come up with someone β€” anyone β€” who Bivens hasn't managed to anger in the last 10 months.

I can't.

Bivens strode into town like the new sheriff at a time when the LPGA was white-hot. I mean, look at what she had to work with. Now, after only 10 months, the townsfolk are rooting for the gunslingers and horse thieves to take back the town.

Here's the body count so far in our story:

• A total of 13 LPGA staffers have quit, seven of them senior-level executives and three of them on the day before the LPGA Championship.

• The Tournament Owners Association, an obviously integral part of the whole scheme, won't even talk to her, or she to them.

That might have something to do with the fact she wanted to raise their LPGA fees from $15,000 in some cases to $100,000. Or the fact that she backed out at the last minute from giving a speech at the annual TOA meeting. Instead, she gave copies of her speech to "select media."

Then she had to nerve to announce: "The leadership of the TOA has continued to demonstrate a lack of interest in building the trust that leads to a mutually beneficial partnership."

• Threats of lawsuits are being tossed around after she began re-arranging tournament dates. One tournament chairman, Larry Harrison of the Shop rite Classic, basically called her a liar, claiming she gave away that tournament's rotation in the schedule while they were still negotiating.

• Even mild-mannered Annika Sorenstam is starting to have her doubts. Dottie Pepper is pissed. How can you piss off Dottie Pepper?

"I started out as a fan of hers," Pepper was quoted as saying in the Buffalo News. "But, she won't talk to me now. Unfortunately, it's Carolyn's way or the highway."

I haven't even mentioned one of her earliest blunders, right out of the gate, when she tried to railroad the media into giving up ownership rights to images and stories coming out of tournaments.

Nice start, Carolyn. Do you know where the LPGA would be without the media? I'll give you three words: Major League Soccer.

This from a woman who was a media consultant in Los Angeles and top marketing executive for USA Today.

And hey, speaking of the media, here's one. Why not reach out to Michelle Wie, the earth-shattering superstar who would send ratings for all LPGA tournaments through the roof, not just the handful in which she gets sponsor exemptions? No need to gouge your own tournaments then.

Yes, yes, I know she's underage and hasn't applied for an exemption. Still, if I'm the new LPGA commissioner, I'm at Michelle's house my first workday, even before I know where my desk is, with a bucket full of exemptions. At least try. Help her doctor her driver's license, for Christ's sake.

By all accounts, Bivens rules like a combination of Genghis Khan and Donald Trump. Maybe she's over-compensating for being the first female commissioner ruling over female athletes. You know, trying to act like a man. Who knows? Hey, you can be a woman and still be a jerk. Even Hillary Clinton was smart enough to tone down her act.

This should be a high old time for the LPGA. There's more interest there than in the PGA Tour, except where Tiger Woods is concerned. Instead, Bivens is drawing as much negative pub as Wie and the rest are drawing positive.

When she was hired for the job, Bivens told The Associated Press: "My hope is to keep the momentum going. This is not an organization that needs to be fixed."

Well, the momentum is still going, despite Bivens' wacky moves. And now there is something that needs to be fixed β€” at the very top.

Tim McDonaldTim McDonald, Contributor

Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • Bivens Article

    Harold wrote on: Aug 3, 2006

    I agree except for 1 point. Hilary hasn't learned anything. In fact, she keeps Bivens from being the worst advertisement for gender equality.


  • You are and idiot

    Bob wrote on: Aug 3, 2006

    You should write so new news.
    Wow, cutting edge stuff.


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