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Whan Emphatic: ‘This One Is Not Going Away’

RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIFORNIA | As golf’s first major came to a close in California and all eyes turned toward Augusta and the second, the future name of the tournament formerly known as The Dinah was still up in the air. But its status in the pecking order and place on the LPGA calendar remained as sturdy as the San Jacinto Mountains.
Four days before Lexi Thompson approached the edge of the 18th green and made the traditional leap into Poppie’s Pond, LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan invited a small group to sit down for coffee where he made that very point.
“In my commissioner tenure, we’re not going to lose this major,” Whan said, punching each word for emphasis. “Maybe somebody later will have a better idea. But in my tenure, this one is not going away.”
That was not bravado. If anything, Whan is a man who undersells and overdelivers. Spending time with him
reminds you why he’s considered one of the brightest people in the game, a man who took over a tour in shambles and turned it into the hottest product in professional golf. Four potential sponsors were on site at Mission Hills, looking to replace Kraft Nabisco, which ended its 33-year sponsorship run on Sunday afternoon. But those aren’t the only suitors rapping on Whan’s parlor door. As he put it, “If all I was looking for was sponsorship for another major (in a different location) I’ve got 35 or 40 sponsors who would say, ‘I’ve got that for you, Mike. Just come to where we are.’ ”


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