b'Mike Whan in overdrive as new USGA CEOBY TOM CADE, EDITOR to make this a better game. Better for my kids, my kids kids, and so on. And now lets talk about Mike Whan, the new CEO of the United States Golf Association. ButWhan becomes just the eighth leader we better talk fast, because Whan moves in the history of the USGA, which was and talksfast.founded in 1894. Prior to coming to the USGA, Whan was the commissioner Do not give this man caffeine, or any otherof the Ladies Professional Golf stimulants. He doesnt need it, as he knowsAssociation (LPGA) for 11 years. While only one gear: Overdrive. Pedal to the metal.at the LPGA, Whan increased the number of Lets go, lets go, lets go.tournaments on theLPGATours scheduleto On November 8, Whan held court at the opening34 from 24,increased purses from $41.4 million session of the annual International Association of Golfto $76.5 million, andgrewtelevision hours from 125 hours Administrators (IAGA) conference, held this year at theper season to more than 500 hours. Under hisleadership, Westin Stonebriar Resort on the outskirts of Dallas, Texas.the LPGAbecameatruly globalbusinesswith players, The IAGA is made up of golf administrators of state andtournaments,sponsorsand fans coming from all over the regional amateur golf associations and other national andworld. Currently,the LPGA Tour is televised in over 170 international golf-related organizations. countries each week.Whans session was moderated by Beth Major, theWhansleadership resulted in the expansion of the USGAs senior director of communications, and althoughLPGA to now include both the Symetra Tour and a recently this was technically supposed to be a Q&A session withannounced jointventure with the Ladies European Whan, she only occasionally managed to get a word in.Tour, as well as a nearly 50 percent increase in the The audience of golf administrators should have all beenLPGAsteaching division.Whansfocus on growingthe wearing seatbelts.game for junior girls hasled toa significant expansion Whan took over the top spot at the USGA this pastof the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Program, which had 5,000 summer, replacing Mike Davis, who had served since 2011members when he joined the organization to 90,000 girls as executive director and then as CEO.now engaged in the program.And Whan came ready to rock and roll. Literally. AllWith that background, it is fairly clear what Whan brings doubt about this was dispelled in late October at theto the table, and what will be expected of himexpand the USGAs first in-person all-staff meeting held at theexposure and reach of the USGAs programs and initiatives, associations headquarters in Far Hills, N.J. since 2019and grow its partnerships. He has said that hell mostly (thanks COVID). Whan was introduced at that meeting toleave the USGAs championship department alone. You the pounding music of the heavy-metal rock band AC/DC.guys are all good, all set, he has said. Jaws dropped.The USGA annually conducts 14 national championships, and has recently secured long-term That probably hasnt happened in the 127 years ofmulti-year commitments with anchor sites for some of USGA history, Whan said with a laugh in his address at theits championships, specifically its marquee championship, IAGA conference. Were here to make the game fun.the U.S. Openhistoric venues such as Merion, Oakmont The sense of urgency that exudes from Whan isand Pinehurst No. 2 have so far been selected, with other palpable. Im 56 years old, he said. Im not going to beannouncements expected. This means the USGA will build doing this when Im 66. So I figure I have six or seven yearsinfrastructure and have a larger presence at these venues 24PACIFIC NORTHWEST GOLFER| DEC 2021'