fair.png
Friday September 24th, 2021 5:42PM

Princeton athletic director hired as LPGA commissioner

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Mollie Marcoux Samaan chose to write her senior thesis at Princeton on a historical construct of women in sports and the role golf played.

Some 30 years later, she had reason to ask her mother to dig out that 100-page thesis for no other reason than to be amazed on how it all has come full circle.

Marcoux Samaan, the athletic director at Princeton the last seven years, was elected Tuesday as the ninth commissioner of the LPGA Tour, and the second woman to hold the position since the LPGA was founded 71 years ago.

“It certainly wasn't the most scholarly document that you'll find,” she said with a laugh. “But it was fun, and it seems so weird to be coming back at this now and so fortunate for me.”

With a passion for women's sports and a background forging relationships, Marcoux Samaan inherits a tour that made it through the COVID-19 pandemic and emerged stronger than ever with a 34-event schedule, record prize money approaching $80 million and joint ownership of the Ladies European Tour.

She replaces Mike Whan, who got the LPGA back on track during his 10 years and left early this year to become CEO of the U.S. Golf Association.

“I truly believe that this is one of the very best jobs in all of sports,” Marcoux Samaan said Tuesday on a Zoom call. "I think in this moment in time with just such tremendous positive energy around women’s sports, around women’s leadership, around society’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, I think that we at the LPGA have just this unique platform to change lives for the better.

“I love helping people, particularly helping people through sports reach their peak potential and realize their dreams.”

The LPGA said she would spend the coming months transitioning from Princeton to the LPGA.

The first woman to lead the LPGA was Carolyn Bivens, hired in 2005 with a bullish marketing plan to promote the players. But she alienated sponsors and media at a time when the tour was struggling to get through the recession. She was ousted in 2009 when the LPGA's schedule had 24 tournaments, 10 of them held outside the U.S.

Marcoux Samaan was a two-sport athlete at Princeton in soccer and hockey — she was first team All-Ivy League in hockey all four years — though her passion for golf runs deep.

She is a five-time club champion at North Fork Country Club in Cutchogue, New York, and she grew up watching Nancy Lopez and other stars compete, dreaming about doing the same.

Golf wasn't part of her future — except for that thesis — though Golf Digest reported she keeps a 7.4 handicap index at North Fork.

Marcoux Samaan spent 19 years with Chelsea Piers Management, which owns and operates amateur sports complexes in New York and Connecticut. She returned to Princeton in 2014 as its athletic director, and the Tigers won a league-leading 65 Ivy League titles while she was there.

Juli Inkster, the Hall of Famer who was part of the search committee, felt Marcoux Samaan would be a players' commissioner.

“From her first interview on, you could just see that she is down to earth, just authentic, someone that cared deeply for her athletes at school,” Inkster said. "I think she’s going to listen, and she’s gritty, she’s smart, but she keeps it simple.

“This is probably not the greatest term, but she's a jock. She loves sports. And I think you have to be that way to really dive in.”

Marcoux Samaan said her priorities would be to learn the landscape before developing a vision based on growth and opportunities, with relationships at the core.

That starts with sponsors paying the bills, one of the strengths of Whan and his team.

“I just think at this moment what could be better than sponsoring the LPGA and sort of how we’re all working towards providing the most diverse and inclusive environments within our companies,” she said. “And to be able to use the LPGA as a platform and commitment to that equity I think is a huge opportunity.”

___

More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Golf, College Sports, AP Business, AP Sports - Women's Golf
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Moment of silence marks year since George Floyd’s death
George Floyd has been honored with a moment of silence in the city where he died at the hands of police, a death captured on a wrenching bystander video that galvanized the racial justice movement and continues to ripple a year later
2:19PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Board fight at Exxon intensifies spotlight on climate change
ExxonMobil is facing a major challenge from a group of investors in one of the biggest fights a corporate boardroom has endured over its stance on climate change, an issue of rising urgency for many shareholders
2:15PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Princeton athletic director hired as LPGA commissioner
Mollie Marcoux Samaan is the new commissioner of the LPGA Tour
2:04PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Falcons coach tight-lipped about Julio Jones' future
The Atlanta Falcons began their offseason training program without longtime star receiver Julio Jones, who apparently has no intention of returning to a rebuilding team that is still struggling to get under the salary cap
1:42PM ( 53 minutes ago )
Petersen makes 18 saves, U.S. beats Kazakhstan 3-0 at worlds
Los Angeles Kings goaltender Cal Petersen made 18 saves as the United States beat Kazakhstan 3-0 to improve to 2-1 at the IIHF world hockey championship
1:37PM ( 58 minutes ago )
Virus positives play role in first round of NHL playoffs
Players testing positive for the coronavirus late in the NHL's regular season and at the start of the playoffs affected multiple teams
1:14PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
PGA apologizes to Mickelson, Koepka for fans on final hole
PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh has apologized to winner Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka for fans rushing onto the 18th hole at the PGA Championship on Sunday
12:40AM ( 13 hours ago )
Picture this: Lefty a major champion at 50, and wanting more
Phil Mickelson had a clear picture that he could win a major championship at age 50
3:59PM ( 22 hours ago )
One more thrill: Phil Mickelson wins at 50 in raucous PGA
Phil Mickelson showed he's still the people's champion by winning his sixth and most unlikely major at the PGA Championship
2:44AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Golf
LEADING OFF: Joe West to break record for most games as ump
Joe West is set to break the record for most games as a major league umpire with No. 5,376 when he works the Cardinals-White Sox matchup in Chicago
2:47AM ( 11 hours ago )
Duke's King embraces being role model as Black woman AD
Nina King says she feels a “great responsibility” as she prepares to take over as Duke's athletics director later this year
5:54PM ( 3 days ago )
Double take: Teen twins 1st to sign in pro hoops prep league
Teenage twins from Florida are skipping college basketball to become the first to sign with a new hoops league created for standout high school players
2:17PM ( 4 days ago )
College Sports
Senate confirms Brooks-LaSure to run health care programs
The Senate has confirmed President Joe Biden’s pick to run U.S. health insurance programs, putting in place a key player who’ll carry out his strategy for expanding affordable coverage and reining in prescription drug costs
1:41PM ( 55 minutes ago )
The Latest: Mascots, prizes rally students to get vaccinated
A growing number of U.S. public schools are using mascots, food trucks and prize giveaways to encourage students to get vaccinated before summer vacation
1:36PM ( 1 hour ago )
Belarus' isolation grows after journalist's dramatic arrest
Belarus’ isolation is deepening as commercial planes avoid its airspace and the European Union works up new sanctions
12:58PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Sarah Kemp takes LPGA Tour lead at firm and fast Kingsmill
Sarah Kemp shot a 4-under 67 t firm and fast Kingsmill Resort to take a one-stroke lead into the weekend in the LPGA Tour’s Pure Silk Championship
7:46PM ( 3 days ago )
Thanks to COVID, Spieth gets a longer break than he wanted
Jordan Spieth returns to competition after four weeks off following the Masters
5:36PM ( 1 week ago )
In hybrid year for British Open, only a few spots remaining
Early summer is typically when the British Open offers spots in the field through top finishes at European Tour and PGA Tour events
11:52AM ( 3 weeks ago )
AP Sports - Women's Golf
Moment of silence marks year since George Floyd’s death
George Floyd has been honored with a moment of silence in the city where he died at the hands of police, a death captured on a wrenching bystander video that galvanized the racial justice movement and continues to ripple a year later
2:19PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Board fight at Exxon intensifies spotlight on climate change
ExxonMobil is facing a major challenge from a group of investors in one of the biggest fights a corporate boardroom has endured over its stance on climate change, an issue of rising urgency for many shareholders
2:15PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Floyd family meeting Biden as Congress mulls police bill
President Joe Biden will meet with the family of George Floyd at the White House Tuesday on the one-year anniversary of Floyd's death
2:00PM ( 35 minutes ago )
Vatican issues a street art stamp, ends up getting sued
A Rome street artist has sued the Vatican for having used her poster art image of Christ for its Easter 2020 postage stamp without her knowledge or approval
1:57PM ( 39 minutes ago )
1 killed as protesters scuffle with Iraqi security forces
Clashes between security forces and protesters have left one person dead after hundreds of Iraqis took to the streets in Baghdad to protest a rise in targeted killings of prominent activists and journalists
1:53PM ( 43 minutes ago )