PGA Tour

LPGA boss Mike Whan named new US Golf Association chief

Mike Whan. (Getty Images)
Mike Whan. (Getty Images)

Outgoing LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan was named as the new chief executive of the United States Golf Association on Wednesday.

Whan, who announced his decision to step down as head of the LPGA in January, replaces Mike Davis, who leaves the post at the end of 2021.

"Mike Whan is a proven, successful and transformative leader, not only in the golf industry but throughout his entire career," USGA President Stu Francis said in an a statement.

"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.

Whan announced in January he was leaving his LPGA role after 11 years in the role.

The long-serving executive is widely credited with strengthening the LPGA Tour since taking over, increasing the number of tournaments on the circuit and boosting overall prize money by more than $25 million.

"Golf has been a part of my whole life," Whan said. "I love this game; I love this country; and I love the process of getting better. And I feel like with this job I'll get a chance to do all three."

Whan meanwhile declined to be drawn into specifics on the debate over proposed rule changes aimed at curbing distance at the elite level because of improvements in equipment design. Rory McIlroy recently condemned a USGA/Royal & Ancient study into the issue as a "huge waste of time and money."

"Golf has always had this excitement factor and innovation factor and a chance to get to believe that your 14 handicap can be 12 this year and finding the right mix to do that," Whan said.

"The one thing I know from spending a lot of time in the manufacturing world is as soon as we establish new standards, a thousand engineers will wake up the next morning and start figuring out how to push the envelope within those standards," he added.

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