Mike Whan named new USGA CEO, replacing Mike Davis in summer 2021
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Mike Whan named new USGA CEO, replacing Mike Davis in summer 2021

Current LPGA commissioner Mike Whan will become the new CEO of the USGA this summer, the organization announced Wednesday.

Whan will take over the position from Mike Davis, who announced last year that he would be leaving the organization in 2021 to pursue golf-course design and architecture in a new firm. Whan announced in January 2021 that he would be stepping away from the LPGA after more than a decade in his current post.

“As someone who grew up loving this game, I have always had huge respect for the USGA and its role in leading our sport,” said Whan. “The game has given me so much throughout my life, both personally and professionally. I know I have a lot to learn, but I’m truly excited about this role, as it gives me the opportunity to not only give back to the game, but to also work hard to leave it stronger.”

Whan will take over for Davis in leading the organization's operations and serving as the public face for the USGA, including on several high-profile boards.

“Mike Whan is a proven, successful and transformative leader, not only in the golf industry but throughout his entire career,” said USGA President Stu Francis, who oversaw the CEO search process.

“He has shown a unique ability to understand how the environment is changing in global golf and how to quickly and thoughtfully adapt an organization 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.”

Under Whan, the LPGA schedule increased by 10 total events, while prize money nearly doubled and TV time quadrupled. The LPGA also entered into a joint venture with the Ladies European Tour, which will have its highest-ever purse offering in 2021. The Symetra Tour, led by Mike Nichols, has seen its purses increase dramatically as well. Whan also brought together the LPGA Tour and LPGA teaching programs, focusing on getting young girls and women of color into the game.

This summer, Davis' tenure as USGA CEO will end, and he'll step away from the organization after a 31-year career. Davis became the organization's first CEO in 2016, transforming the role of Executive Director, a job to which he was promoted in 2011.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mike Whan for many years and I view him as a trusted, strategic leader who has a proven track record of building collaborative partnerships,” said Davis. “I know the USGA will be in great hands, and I look forward to partnering with Mike to ensure a smooth and successful transition for the USGA.”

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

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