LPGA commissioner takes blame for major gaffe

Mike Whan

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan admits he got it wrong over moving the Evian Championship to its September date.

The 2017 staging of the final women’s major of the season was shrouded in controversy after first round scores were scrapped and the tournament reduced to 54 holes – the second time that had happened in its five years as a major championship.

Many believe reducing a major to 54 holes doesn’t befit the calibre of the event and, speaking on Golf Channel, Whan conceded that it was a mistake to move the Evian from its original July date to later in the year.

“The challenges we’ve faced are man-made – and I’m the man who made them,” admitted Whan.

“At the end of the day, I made three decisions when we made the Evian Championship a major. One, I moved it to September; Two, I moved it to a time where it rains a lot and I extended the field, meaning I filled the golf course with more players, when there are three less hours of daylight, and when it rains a lot.

Evian

“Finally, the redesign of the golf course made it harder and, as a result, play was slower.”

Whan stood by his decision to reduce the 2017 championship – which was won by Swede Anna Nordqvist – to 54 holes, but vowed to get it back to its summer date, which it held throughout its time as an LPGA-Ladies European Tour co-sanctioned event from 2000-2012.

“I would make the 54-hole decision again and take all the heat that I got for it,” he added. “But whether or not we should have scrapped Thursday’s scores, I’m probably going to grind about that for the next ten years because it was forecast to rain there until the Wednesday.

“I’d love to blame someone else for what happened – the media, a player, a sponsor – but it’s not true. Mike Whan made those mistakes and Mike Whan and his team will have to fix it. We will get Evian back to a summer date. It may not be in ’18, but certainly by ’19.”

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