Sports Outside the Beltway

Is LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens about to be ousted?

Golf World magazine’s Ron Sirak says it could come as early as next week.

Carolyn Bivens’ tumultuous four-year run as LPGA commissioner will end early next week, multiple sources tell, the tipping point coming when the Board of Directors received a letter from some of the tour’s top players calling for her resignation. Official word is expected after this week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Saucon Valley Country Club.

“The letter was a death sentence,” one source within the LPGA told “No confidence by the players is a dagger in her heart,” said a second source, this one involved in tournament ownership.

Bivens has 18 months left on the three-year contract extension she signed at the beginning of 2008. Her salary, according to LPGA tax filings, is $500,000 a year. According to a source in tournament management, a general agreement with Bivens on financial terms was reached late Wednesday.

The only remaining questions surround when Bivens leaves office and how her departure is framed. “She’s gone. It’s just a question of whether it’s a firing or a resignation,” said one veteran player, a Bivens supporter. “And she doesn’t deserve any of it.”

The LPGA, its Tournament Owners Association, the Board of Directors and the players all deferred comment on the matter until after the Women’s Open. Bivens did not respond to an email request for an interview nor to a message left on her cell phone.

Bivens has had a habit of becoming hard to find when some controversy blows up involving the LPGA Tour. For instance the English policy debacle of last year. The Commissioner was out of communication for a week. Which frankly always amazed me considering Bivens background prior to the LPGA.

Among the players who signed the letter were Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel, Lorena Ochoa, Cristie Kerr, Se Ri Pak, Suzann Pettersen and Natalie Gulbis. Ms. Bivens does have some supporters, but I doubt the total is very big.

My opinion of Bivens firing or resignation- It’s about time. I’ve been banging the drum loudly(I gave Bivens her own tag for this blog. That tells you frequently she’s been a topic of my posts.) for three years about Commissioner Bivens wrongheaded decision making. She’s angered sponsors, fans, and the media and right now the LPGA may have only ten U.S. based golf events in 2010. What’s the big deal about that? The tour plays all over the world. That’s true, but the foreign events are limited fields. Most LPGA players are going to have somewhere else to play.

The Bivens years has been almost complete for the LPGA Tour. Whoever gets her job is going to have a great deal of work to do to straighten out the mess they inherit from ‘The Brand Lady’.

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