LPGA commish targeting success

MARK KEAST -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:52 AM ET

The CN Canadian Women's Open is one of "32" other tournaments looking for major status on the LPGA tour, so don't expect the Canadian stopover to get its major status returned to it anytime soon.

Still, according to LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens, 10 months into the job, an LPGA committee is looking into new selection criteria on who gets a major and why. Nothing would please the RCGA more.

Bivens was at the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame at Glen Abbey in Oakville yesterday to talk about how committed the LPGA is to Canada going forward, her philosophies on quality of tournaments over quantity of tournaments (the LPGA has 36 events on its 2006 schedule), its large number of international players and rising, marketable young stars.

The only negative in a sea of positives yesterday was the date for this year's Canadian Women's Open -- Aug. 7-13, at the London Hunt and Country Club -- the week after the British Open, and the same week as Annika Sorenstam's charity event in Sweden (still, as of today, 11 of the top 15 finishers at this year's U.S. Open will compete).

"It's not the best date," RCGA executive director Stephen Ross said, acknowledging Bivens' willingness to get it changed. The arm-twisting worked. Next year's tournament will be held a week later -- Aug. 13-19 at Mayfair Golf and Country Club in Edmonton.

Bivens has moved aggressively on a number of fronts, largely to improve the LPGA's business model. The fact she's a relative outsider compared to those in golf's inner circle -- Bivens, 53, was president of the largest media services agency in the U.S. before being named LPGA commissioner -- and the fact she has moved so quickly when it comes to making changes has a few noses out of joint. There have been resignations by senior staff and vice-presidents at the LPGA since she took over.

"I would say that when you have 11 tournament contracts up for renewal, you don't really choose your pace," she said. All but one of those tournaments have been negotiated and are in various stages of renewal.


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