As Mike Whan readies to make the move from Florida to New Jersey – he bought a place at Hamilton Farm Golf Club – the search for his replacement at the LPGA has begun to narrow.
Golfweek has learned that the number of candidates for LPGA commissioner has been whittled down from hundreds to eight, with a second round of interviews now in the works.
Suzy Whaley, the first female president of the PGA of America, however, is not among those final candidates. Whaley told Golfweek that she was very interested in the position but had taken her name out of the race. She did not say why.
Whan, who on Feb. 17 was named the USGA’s next CEO, said the LPGA board hoped to make a decision by the end of May. Whan will officially take over on July 1.
“With my own personal experience with the USGA, a process that I thought might take six months took six weeks,” said Whan at the ANA Inspiration.
“In the world of Google and Zoom and Teams, it used to be, ‘Hey, Mike, when can you get to New Jersey and we’ll try to get the group together,’ and you start doing date games. Now it’s ‘how’s Tuesday at 6 p.m.?’ And I open my computer in my living room and six other people open their computer, and you just had an interview with six people.
“I think this process will go pretty fast. I think we’re looking end of May. They’re probably saying end of June, but internally they’re targeting end of May.”
Mike Whan with an LPGA-USGA Girls Golf member (Getty Images/LPGA).
The LPGA Board of Directors, which is made up of eight LPGA members and six independent directors, will select the next commissioner. Notably, Michelle Wie West joined the Board of Directors as a player member in 2021.
The search committee is comprised of four LPGA members and three independent directors. LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, Canadian veteran Alena Sharp, Tour president Vicki Goetze-Ackerman and Marvol Barnard, who is National President of the LPGA Teaching & Club Professionals, round out the LPGA members on the search committee.
Diane Gulyas, who retired from a 36-year career with DuPont, heads the committee while Jon Iwata, a longtime executive at IBM, and former KPMG Global Chairman John Veihmeyer are the independent directors.
Inkster said early on in the process that it didn’t matter to her if the person who replaced Whan was a woman, saying that honesty was the trait players cared most about.
The LPGA board is comprised of the following Player Directors and independent board members: President Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, Lydia Ko, Pernilla Lindberg, Amy Olson, Alena Sharp, Kris Tamulis and Wie West.
Independent board members are: Diane Gulyas, Chair/Former Sr. Executive DuPont, LLC; David Fay, former executive director of the USGA; Jon Iwata, retired senior vice president and Chief Brand Officer of IBM; and Tom Schoewe, retired executive vice president and Chief Financial Officer of Walmart; Madeleine Kleiner, retired executive vice president and general counsel of Hilton Hotel Corporation; and John Veihmeyer, retired Chairman of KPMG International.