Golf

Whan to become chief executive of United States Golf Association

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Mike Whan is to become chief executive of the United States Golf Association (USGA) after stepping down as Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) commissioner.

Whan, who will take up the role later this year, is set to be responsible for leading all aspects of the USGA’s operations, including its core functions, essential programmes, and human and financial resources.

He will also represent the USGA on various national and international Boards. 

“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.” 

Whan announced he was to step down from his role at the LPGA last month. 

In 11 years at the helm of the organisation, Whan oversaw an increase in the number of tournaments on the LPGA Tour’s schedule to 34 from 24, increasing prize purses from $41.4 million (£29.5 million/€34.1 million) to $76.5 million (£54.6 million/€63.1 million), and growing television hours from 125 hours per season to more than 500 hours.

Whan started his career at Procter and Gamble in 1987 and then moved on to become vice-president and general manager in the golf division at Wilson Sporting Goods. 

Mike Davis is the current USGA chief executive but announced last year he was to step down ©Getty Images
Mike Davis is the current USGA chief executive but announced last year he was to step down ©Getty Images

He joined the TaylorMade Golf as vice-president of marketing in 1995 and later served as vice-president of sales and marketing, as well as executive vice-president and general manager for Taylormade-adidas Golf. 

In 2002, Whan became President and chief executive of Mission Hockey, a hockey equipment company. 

“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 organisation to meet those changes. 

“Importantly, Mike is already a trusted peer for so many key stakeholders in the industry, and his existing relationships will not only help the USGA, but will also help advance the game.”

Mike Davis is the current USGA chief executive, taking up the position in 2016 after becoming executive director in 2011. 

Davis announced in September he would leave the role to pursue his passion of golf course design and construction. 

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mike Whan for many years and I view him as a trusted, strategic leader who has a proven track record of building collaborative partnerships,” said Davis. 

“I know the USGA will be in great hands, and I look forward to partnering with Mike to ensure a smooth and successful transition for the USGA.” 

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