LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens is the Wizard of Odd. And in just two weeks, the beleaguered boss of women’s golf will descend on the East Valley for the Safeway International.
Make no mistake, Bivens wants to be “great and powerful.’’ Unfortunately, she is not known for “all the wonderful things’’ she does.
Bivens’ latest gaffe in her 18 months at the top came via the 2007 LPGA media guide. This is a book for which Annika Sorenstam had been the annual cover girl for the past 10 years.
Guess what? No Annika out front in 2007, as Lorena Ochoa, Seon Hwa Lee and Julieta Granada adorn the book’s cover. Granted, Ochoa belongs, but Hwa and Granada over Sorenstam?
The Sorenstam snafu is the equivalent of the PGA Tour leaving Tiger off its media guide. And, you can bet that will never happen.
Apparently snubbing the greatest player ever in women’s golf, the same player who doesn’t necessarily see right down the middle with the commish, was the point. And trust me, this latest LPGA media guide cover fiasco didn’t just roll out of the marketing department without Bivens’ blessing.
The same can be said for every other detail involving the LPGA these days. They are Bivens driven, and if an employee dares disagree — “You’re fired!’’ It’s happened so many times since she took over late in 2005 — 13 “resignations,’’ including her top three assistants — you have to wonder: Who’s next?
Certainly Bivens’ dissing of Sorenstam isn’t enough to break her reign of terror. But apparently Sorenstam’s 69 career wins don’t carry much weight these days. That is especially true for those who dare question Bivens’ iron rule.
Sorenstam, however, is one of those few who dared. Last year, after watching fiasco after fiasco that began with top media outlets boycotting the LPGA, was followed by world rankings that were a laughingstock (Sorenstam the exception), and then more resignations from within, Annika observed: “I am quite concerned about some of the decisions and changes I have seen lately. I just wonder where we are headed.’’
One by one, the stories about the LPGA spun out of control as Bivens’ initial season unfolded. Besides resignations, rankings and boycotts, Bivens’ hit list also included several LPGA sponsors and tournaments.
Among the many changes under Bivens came $100,000 staging fees, added bills for electronic scoreboards, and other financial and logistical demands.
The kicker was that Bivens laid down the law without the LPGA’s sponsors having much, if any, input. In that regard, she is like the “other Wizard,’’ who we all know was just an average person with an inflated ego who liked to pull levers and scare people from behind a curtain.