On August 9, 2021, Mollie Marcoux Samaan officially took over as the ninth commissioner of the LPGA. After meeting with LPGA staff and calling a number of key sponsors, Mollie sat down with LPGA.com for her first official Q&A.
Q: So how did the transition go?
Mollie: My transition was very busy, but also fascinating and inspiring. It was a bit of a long transition. I think the team has been very patient and done a phenomenal job of moving the organization forward. But this kind of lengthy transition has allowed me to learn a lot, and I feel like I’m ready to dive right in and hit the ground running.
I also know it was tough for the team. And making sure I got my Princeton responsibilities right and my family moved and settled in was a challenge from a personal standpoint. But I couldn’t be more excited to be sitting here at LPGA HQ today.
Q: And what have you learned so far?
Mollie: There are a couple of large takeaways. Number one, the LPGA Tour players are nothing short of remarkable. The athleticism, overall talent, courage, determination, passion and dedication they show every week are incredible. I really enjoyed seeing it up close.
I also learned that the tour is in really good shape. We have great people, great partners, and a very solid schedule. But I also think that there are great opportunities ahead of us, which is very exciting for me.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “The women on the LPGA Tour are amazing. You are so talented; they are assignable; they are determined and interact really authentically with their fans and partners. ‘ And then I hear how much people enjoy working with the LPGA team. It’s a wonderful position because if you have the right people you can achieve anything.
Those were the biggest souvenirs. But beyond that there are a million other layers.
Q: You just moved to Florida. How has your family adjusted?
Mollie: You were great. The children are coming to school tomorrow and we have largely settled in. Thanks for asking. I firmly believe in surrounding yourself with great teams and the family is the most important team we all have.
Then the people you work with are so important. I can’t say enough about the team here and how much I look forward to working with them.
Q: How many of our athletes have you met so far?
Mollie: Well, I’ve met a lot of people who only say ‘hello’ on the side, and had some in-depth conversations. Now that I’m officially here, my goal is to somehow reach out to the players individually. On my first day, I got a text message from Michelle Wie West that said, “Welcome,” which was great. And I hope that in due course I can get in touch with all the players one-on-one. There are a lot of them. But these personal connections are very important to me.
Q: What will be your first official event as a commissioner?
Mollie: It looks like it will be the Solheim Cup. I’ve been to the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational. But since we’re in the middle of European swing right now, travel restrictions make it a little difficult to get there. But I will definitely be at the Solheim Cup.
Q: What are your immediate priorities?
Mollie: My first priority is to listen and learn to understand the whole landscape. But then we have to dive into strategic planning, where we look at our values and our mission and clearly define them; Take a look at all of our assets and resources and define our priorities and plan for the future.
With regard to our communication, our technologies; our content; our shipments; look at the tournament schedule and see how we can continue to grow; look at wallets at all the tournaments – I could go on like this. But the first and foremost priority is to listen and learn, and then put together a clear plan of action
Q: When do you think you will have a “call to action”?
Mollie: We have a 100 day plan that started today. It’s a thoughtful approach to building our long-term strategic vision. At the end of the 100 days, the goal is to set up our strategy. Of course we will work during this time. We will not stop. In fact, we’ve already got a number of things lined up that you will quickly see.
Q: What do you see as the model of the LPGA today?
Mollie: Today the guiding principle is to enable women and girls to live their dreams through golf. That’s a pretty broad statement, but I think we want to use it and refine it. We want to use all parts of the LPGA ecosystem, from the tour to the foundation to the professionals and amateurs, and approach this mission holistically. I see our organization as a pyramid with the LPGA Tour at the top of the pyramid, which serves as a point of inspiration for all female golfers.
Q: You have to see your predecessor Mike Whan in action. And of course he’s with the USGA now. How would you say your style is different from Mikes?
Mollie: First off, Mike did a phenomenal job. Not only the business that he has built but the family and culture that he has built is remarkable. I am very lucky that I am getting involved. I think we have similar approaches as we care a lot; We are really passionate about what we do; We love people and believe in the culture and family character of this organization. We both enjoy being in the middle of the action and being innovative. We both really believe in the power of partnership and collaboration, too. So I think we’re similar in that regard. Mike is definitely better off the podium. He has incredible communication skills. But I think I’ve learned a lot from him in the short time I’ve met him. And I hope to be able to build on what he has created here.
Q: How many events do you think you will attend for the rest of the year?
Mollie: I hope to attend all of our LPGA Tour events by the end of the season and am working on my schedule to try to attend as many other important events for different parts of the organization as possible.
Q: How should the outside world describe the LPGA under your leadership?
Mollie: We want people to say that this is a historic organization with a remarkable tradition of excellence and community, but one that is also innovative and ready to grow, be creative and adapt with the times. We want people to see our women as the most talented athletes in the world, committed to our shared mission and vision. And we want to be a great partner in everything we do.
People and partnership are two very important words that you will hear a lot from us. I hope people will also see that we are passionate, optimistic, grateful, and determined.
Q: Did you see the Olympics last week and if so, what did you think of it?
Mollie: I did and at first I thought the talent was great. I found the show exceptional. I found the energy the women brought with them phenomenal. Olympics is such a pure sport in my opinion. Our athletes seemed to accept that. And they put on a great show.
Q: What’s your message of welcome to fans, players and everyone else who loves the LPGA?
Mollie: I hope people see the LPGA not only as a sports league and a great investment in their time and resources, but also as an organization in a unique position to change the way they think; Break down stereotypes and barriers. We have this platform to feature women from all over the world and with many different backgrounds who are really hard to master under pressure in something. And through this platform we have the opportunity to change thinking; To raise women in general; and change the world through golf.
So, jump on board. We go places. Be a part of our world. Get to know us and become part of our remarkable vision. And be a fan. You will not be disappointed with the athleticism of our players, their passion, their leadership or their commitment.
It’s going to be a great ride.