LPGA Commissioner Whan named next USGA chief executive

·2 min read

(Reuters) - Mike Whan, who turned around the fortunes of the LPGA during his tenure as commissioner of the women's tour, has been named chief executive officer of the United States Golf Association, the governing body said on Wednesday.

Whan, who last month announced his plans to leave the LPGA sometime this year, will take over the CEO reins this summer from Mike Davis, who last November said he planned to step down to pursue a passion for golf course design.

"Mike Whan is a proven, successful and transformative leader, not only in the golf industry but throughout his entire career," said USGA President Stu Francis.

"He has shown a unique ability to understand how the environment is changing in global golf and how to quickly and thoughtfully adapt an organization to meet those changes."

The New Jersey-based USGA conducts 14 national championships, including the U.S. Open, and together with the R&A writes and interprets the Rules of Golf.

During Whan's 11-year stint at the helm of the LPGA, the organization has experienced historic growth in virtually every aspect of the business.

Under Whan's leadership, the LPGA Tour's schedule rose to 34 events from 24, purses rose to $76.5 million from $41.4 million while the circuit became a truly global business – with players, tournaments, sponsors and fans coming from all over the world.

"As someone who grew up loving this game, I have always had huge respect for the USGA and its role in leading our sport," said Whan.

"The game has given me so much throughout my life, both personally and professionally.

"I know I have a lot to learn, but I'm truly excited about this role, as it gives me the opportunity to not only give back to the game, but to also work hard to leave it stronger."

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)