Mollie Marcoux Samaan has been appointed as the new commissioner of the LPGA, the organiser of the top women’s professional golf tour.
Marcoux Samaan joins the US-based organisation from Princeton University where she has been serving as athletic director.
The new recruit succeeds Mike Whan who is stepping down this summer, after 11 years as LPGA commissioner, and taking up a new role as chief executive of the United States Golf Association.
Marcoux Samaan becomes the ninth LPGA leader, and the second woman fill the role, since its formation in 1950.
The LPGA has cited her more than 25 years of leadership experience in sports and business, including 19 with Chelsea Piers Management, which owns and operates amateur sports complexes in New York and Connecticut.
She was earlier a student at Princeton, where she competed at a high level in sports including soccer and ice hockey, and returned to the university, as athletic director, in 2014 since when its teams have won 65 Ivy League championships.
Although seriously impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the LPGA Tour has returned in force with a schedule of 34 events offering almost $80 million in prize money this year.
In a statement, Marcoux Samaan said: “The LPGA Commissioner role is one of the best jobs in sports today and the opportunity of a lifetime… I believe passionately that sports have the power to change the world. And in this moment in time – with the positive energy around women’s sports, women’s leadership and society’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion – I believe the LPGA has an incredible opportunity to use our platform for positive change.
“Under the leadership of Mike Whan and the executive team, the LPGA is strongly positioned for continued growth and impact. I’ll look forward to working with Mike and the leadership team to meet the many people and organisations that have been so integral to the LPGA’s success. With its committed sponsors and fans, talented players and members, and exceptional staff and Board, my role will be to continue the positive momentum and increase opportunities, awareness, impact and respect for the LPGA worldwide.”
Welcoming the new leader, Diane Gulyas, chair of the LPGA board of directors and the search committee, said: “Our selection of Mollie Marcoux Samaan as the LPGA’s next Commissioner is the outcome of an extensive and deliberate search process. The position attracted a diverse group of outstanding internal and external candidates, all passionate about the LPGA.
“We concluded that Mollie is the right leader to guide the LPGA’s next chapter of growth, impact and achievement.”
The LPGA was assisted in the recruitment process by Spencer Stuart, the executive search and leadership consulting firm.
Meanwhile, it has been announced that CBS, the US national network, drew an average of 6.6 million viewers for the final round of the men's US PGA Championship, won by home player Phil Mickelson.
The audience was the highest for the last round of the major championship in three years.
The number of viewers peaked at around 13 million between 7pm and 7.15pm as Mickelson won by two shots to become, aged 50, the oldest-ever winner of a major. It was his sixth major overall.
CBS shared coverage of the PGA Championship with dedicated sports broadcaster ESPN, which showed the majority of the tournament, including the Sunday morning play.
The final round of the 2020 PGA Championship, won by USA’s Colin Morikawa, drew an average audience of 5.1 million viewers and a peak of 6.8 million for CBS.