On August 9, 2021 Mollie Marcoux Samaan officially took over as the ninth commissioner of the LPGA. After meeting with the LPGA staff and calling number of key sponsors, Mollie sat down with LPGA.com for her first official Q&A.
Q: So, how has the transition gone?
Mollie: My transition has been extremely busy but also fascinating and inspiring. It’s been a bit of a long transition. I think the team has been very patient and have done a phenomenal job keeping the organization moving forward. But this sort of lengthy transition has allowed me to learn a lot and I feel as though I’m ready to dive right in and hit the ground running.
I also recognize that it’s been hard on the team. And it’s been challenging from a personal perspective, making sure that I properly wound down my responsibilities at Princeton and got my family moved and settled. 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 big takeaways. Number one, LPGA Tour players are just remarkable. The level of athleticism, the overall talent, the grit, the determination, the passion and the commitment that they show every week is amazing. Seeing it up close and personal has been really fun for me.
I’ve 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 there are great opportunities in front of us, which is very exciting to me.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, ‘The women on the LPGA Tour are incredible. They’re so talented; they’re relatable; they’re determined, and they really engage authentically with their fans and partners.’ And then I also hear how much people like working with the LPGA team. That is a wonderful position to come into, because if you have the right people you can accomplish anything.
Those have been the biggest takeaways. But there are a million other layers beyond that.
Q: You’ve just moved to Florida. How has your family adjusted?
Mollie: They’ve been great. The kids start school tomorrow and we’re largely settled in. Thanks for asking. I’m a big believer in surrounding yourself with great teams and family is the most important team we all have.
Then the people that 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 in terms of just saying ‘hi’ in passing and have had some more in-depth conversations. My goal, now that I’m here officially, is to reach out to players individually in some form or fashion. I got a text from Michelle Wie West on my first day saying, ‘Welcome,’ which was great. And I hope to connect with all the players one on one in due time. There are a lot of them. But those personal connections are really important to me.
Q: What will be your first event, officially, as Commissioner?
Mollie: It looks like it will be the Solheim Cup. I went to the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and I went to the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational. But with us being in the middle of the European swing right now, travel restrictions make getting over there a little difficult. But I will certainly be at the Solheim Cup.
Q: What are your immediate priorities?
Mollie: My first priority is to listen and learn, to gain an understanding of the full landscape. But then it’s to dive into strategic planning where we will look at our values and mission and define those clearly; look at all of our assets and resources and define our priorities and plan moving forward.
Looking at our communications, our technologies; our content; our broadcasts; looking at the tournament schedule and seeing how we can continue to grow; looking at purses at all the tournaments – I could go on and on. But the first and most important priority is to listen and learn and then put together a clear action plan
Q: When do you think you’ll 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. By the end of the 100 days, the goal is to have our strategy in place. Obviously, we will be working during that time. We’re not going to stop. In fact, we already have a number of things lined up that you will be seeing quickly.
Q: What do you see as the LPGA mission statement today?
Mollie: Today, the mission statement is to allow women and girls to live their dreams through golf. That’s a pretty broad statement, but I think we want to use that and refine it. We want to use all parts of the LPGA ecosystem, from the Tour to the Foundation to the Professional and Amateurs and approach this mission holistically. I think of our organization as a pyramid with the LPGA Tour at the top of the pyramid, serving as a point of inspiration for all female golfers.
Q: You got to see your predecessor, Mike Whan, in action. And, of course, he’s at the USGA now. How would you say your style is different from Mike’s?
Mollie: First of all, Mike has done a phenomenal job. Not just the business he built but the family and the culture he built is remarkable. I feel very fortunate to be stepping into that. I think we have similar approaches in that we care a lot; we’re really passionate about what we do; we love people and believe in culture and the family nature of this organization. We both enjoy being in the middle of the action and being innovative. We also both really believe in the power of partnership and collaboration. So, I think we’re similar in those ways. Mike is definitely better behind the podium. He has unbelievable communications skills. But I think I’ve learned a lot from him in the short time that I’ve gotten to know him. And I hope to build upon what he’s 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 through the end of the season and am working on my schedule to try to get to as many other important events for different parts of the organization as possible.
Q: How do you want the outside world to describe the LPGA under your leadership?
Mollie: We want people to say that this is an historic organization with a remarkable tradition of excellence and community, but one that is also innovative and willing to grow, be creative and adapt to the times. We want people to think of our women as the most talented athletes in the world, which they are, committed to our collective 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 that we have a determined sense of purpose.
Q: Did you watch the Olympics last week, and, if so, what did you think?
Mollie: I did and, first, I thought the talent was great. I thought the broadcast was exceptional. I thought that the energy that the women brought was phenomenal. The Olympics, in my view, is such a pure form of sports. Our athletes seemed to embrace that. And they put on a great show.
Q: What is your welcome message to fans, players and anyone else who loves the LPGA?
Mollie: I hope people will see the LPGA, not only as a sports league and a great investment for their time and resources, but as an organization in a unique position to change mindsets; to break down stereotypes and barriers. We have this platform to show women from all over the world and from many different backgrounds performing under pressure in something that is really hard to master. And through that platform, we have an opportunity to change thinking; to elevate women broadly; and to change the world through golf.
So, jump on board. We’re going places. Be a part of our world. Learn about us and become a part of our remarkable vision. And be a fan. You will not be disappointed in our players’ athleticism, their passion, their leadership or their commitment.It’s going to be a great ride.