HOUSTON (January 22, 2020) -- When Mike Whan took over the LPGA Tour 10 years ago, it was struggling. Some even questioned whether or not it would survive.
Whan’s leadership over the past decade spearheaded a radical turnaround for the LPGA and because of those efforts, the Golf Writers Association of America has awarded him the 2020 William D. Richardson Award for outstanding contributions to golf.
In addition to Whan, the GWAA has named Patrick Cantlay winner of the 2020 Ben Hogan Award, given to a player who has overcome a physical handicap or serious injury to remain active in golf, while Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters champ, is the recipient of the ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award, given to a player for his or her working relationship with the media.
Since Whan, 54, took over as commissioner, the LPGA has experienced more than a 50 percent increase in tournaments, more than an 80 percent increase in purses and a 100 percent increase in television coverage. He also introduced the season-long Race to the CME Globe, UL International Crown and Founders Cup. In addition, the Symetra Tour has grown from 16 tournaments with $1.7M in prize money, to a record $4M in 2019 over the course of 23 tournaments. And participation in the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf has grown from 5,000 to 90,000.
“I want to express a heartfelt thank you to the Golf Writers Association of America for honoring me with the William D. Richardson Award,” said Whan. “It’s very humbling to be included in a list of past honorees that includes names like Bob Hope, Bob Jones, Arnold Palmer, and LPGA Founders like Babe Zaharias, Patty Berg and Louise Suggs.
“The LPGA is the ultimate TEAM effort, so I hope all the players, teachers, and staff understand this award is really recognizing ALL of us!! I’m honored to be a small part of this incredible LPGA family, and I’m proud of all that we are doing to leave the game even better for the next generation of golfers.”