When Mollie Marcoux Samaan was driving up Interstate 4 to start her first official day at the LPGA headquarters in Daytona Beach, Florida, she texted her predecessor. Mike Whan led the former Princeton sporting director into her role as the LPGA’s ninth commissioner during this transition. While Whan continues to offer his help as Marcoux Samaan gains a foothold, it is her turn to take the lead. And this week, when she was commuting to the office for the first time, the weight of her new job came into its own.
“I took a deep breath and said, ‘All right, let’s go'”, the new inspector recalled on Thursday.
It was a collective breath for everyone who held their breath to see Marcoux Samaan build on the overwhelming momentum that Whan generated during his 11-year tenure for the LPGA. The answer to this question will become apparent in the next 100 days.
The unanimous appointment of Marcoux Samaan by the LPGA board was announced in late May. During her introduction to the media, she declared herself a super-fangirl of the LPGA and said she was in awe of Juli Inkster, who is a board member.
BY Amy Rogers
– May 25, 2021 at 7:40 p.m.
Many in the golf world were unfamiliar with the LPGA’s new commissioner, Mollie Marcoux Samaan. Here are some insights.
Since that announcement, she has spent two and a half months quitting her role at Princeton, moving from New Jersey to Florida, and enrolling her three children in new schools. She has also started meeting the players on tour at events throughout the summer, including the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. When asked about their interactions with the players, while the new commish was unable to point out a specific story, she said she was impressed with the athletes she leads.
“They are quite remarkable, as you all know, and as someone who loves athletes in every way and can see them doing what they are so good at, they really are the best in the world, that struck me immediately . “Said Marcoux Samaan. “These women are strong and determined and fit and the best in the world.”
As part of Marcoux Samaan’s transition to leading the best women golfers in the world, she devised a 100-day plan not just for herself but for the LPGA as a whole. She says the plan is divided into three phases, starting with a listening and learning phase. Marcoux Samaan first mentioned this strategy when she announced her appointment in May.
The second phase involves developing a strategic plan for the LPGA. She wants to incorporate the values of the almost 72-year-old organization, which was founded in 1950 by 13 women. Marcoux Samaan says the plan will be worked out over the next three months. After completing the 100 days, which also coincide with the season end of the CME Group Tour Championship in mid-November, Marcoux Samaan says that the organization can move on to the third phase. In this phase, a template is created that outlines the future goals of the LPGA.
“Okay, this is where we will use our energy or most of our energy,” explains Marcoux Samaan, explaining how she would like to use the template. “But even here we will continue what we are doing because it has been quite successful.”
On Thursday, Marcoux Samaan didn’t reveal many details about the LPGA’s future other than saying that it hopes to share more stories from tour players. She also identified the tour’s annual schedule as an area that she has discussed extensively with Whan and that she is likely to focus on.
“It’s always a challenge to keep creating the best tour schedule,” said Marcoux Samaan when asked about her greatest challenge. “I think these kinds of tips and drives are fueling a lot of the ecosystem, so we just need to keep putting together the best schedule that will allow our women to have a good life, especially at all levels of the LPGA.”
After less than a full week in her new role as LPGA commissioner, Marcoux Samaan is still deeply absorbed in the listening and learning phase of her 100-day plan. She receives extensive training when she attends her first event as a commissioner at the Solheim Cup in September. From then on, she’ll double her homework. She plans to take part in every LPGA Tour event remaining on the schedule for 2021, which includes nine post-Solheim Cup events and a swing through Asia.
Good. Here she goes.