Meet Mollie Marcoux Samaan, the LPGA’s new commissioner — Recapping HGVLPGA — Must-click women’s golf links
The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, January 27, 2022
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost February. Time is moving as if it has somewhere to be and it’s blowing my mind. I’m not going to wish away time, but as we inch closer to a new month, that means summer golf isn’t far behind and that gives me a little peace of mind. Despite the cold weather, golf season is in full swing. The return of the LPGA, under the leadership of Mollie Marcoux Samaan, and NCAA women’s golf will keep us fed for a while so let’s just jump right in.
But first a few house-keeping things we need to settle.
A recap of the HGVLPGA is happening in this week’s Five at The IX so be sure to scroll down, you won’t want to miss it.
The 2022 PGA Merchandise Show kicked off this week in Orlando and I had the pleasure of being in the trenches with my brother while he filmed some content for the PGA of America! A full rundown of this year’s show, my experiences, and my reactions on what’s hot will be covered next week since I have one more day left in the Sunshine State. So far I’ve had a blast and I’m excited to share the cool things we did this week with you all.
Now onto the meat and potatoes of this week’s issue…the new commissioner of the LPGA.
There’s been a lot of noise for the last couple of months about tournament purse increases and new sponsors, but who is the person behind the scenes making these things happen? That person is newly (kinda) appointed Mollie Marcoux Samaan.
Marcoux Samaan is a former two-sport athlete at Princeton who became their athletic director in April 2014. During her time as a student, in her senior year, she wrote her thesis on “The Social Construction of Sport and Gender: A History of Women’s Golf from 1895 to 1955.” Though she’s not an expert in golf, she is a golf fan just like you and me, and that’s what makes me so excited about her appointment. Her love of the game as an “outsider” gives her an edge. Her expertise as an athletic director proves that she has a history with advocating for the wants and needs of athletes, and hopefully she will continue to bring more positive results during her time as commissioner.
One thing that has been both, impressive and refreshing to see, is her candidness on what she will make her priorities. Marcoux Samaan was very transparent on what her vision will include in the organization’s future while she’s at the helm: purses, partners, global growth and exposure.
She wants more money in the pockets of players, like our friend Hannah Gregg, don’t have to fight as hard to find ways of staying afloat. More money, more partners, and more exposure is only exactly what we’ve been discussing week end and week out and to know that someone a macro-level wants the same things we do feels like a weight being lifted off of our very fatigued shoulders.
But let’s unpack a few things. As a Black woman in this industry it’s easy for me to yearn for more people who look like me to be on the course, but I am privileged. I come from an upper-middle class background and more than enough resources to ensure that anything I want, I could have. Golf is inaccessible because of how expensive it is.
There are some exceptions like municipal courses, but typically when you factor in costs of apparel, equipment, lessons, and cart fees the receipt starts looking like one from CVS. There’s also the natural progression (especially if you start as a junior) that you’re going to want to elevate your clubs and take more lessons–which costs more money.
So now we have a money issue that impacts the average recreational player and players at the highest level.
If the commissioner wants to grow globally, like soccer, then we are going to have find a way to make golf cheaper. Enough gate-keeping! This game will die if we don’t find new ways to entice more people with the insurance that they won’t break the bank by picking up a new hobby.
I wish the new commissioner all the best and I think so far she’s making good on her promises. I’m excited for what’s to come and I trust in her abilities to really showcase why the LPGA is one of the greatest sports organizations in the world!
Looking ahead to this weekend, both professional and college women’s golf will be in action.
The ladies on tour are staying in Florida for the Grainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio. The field is fully stacked with all of our favorites. Last week’s HGVLPGA winner Danielle Kang is teeing it up along with Nelly Korda, Gaby Lopez, Brooke Henderson, Jessica Korda, Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, Lydia Ko, Lexi Thompson and more! Last week’s event showed that it’s really anyone’s game and that these ladies went to work during the off-season.
Not too far away in Georgia, nine teams, are battling in the Lady Bulldog Invitational in Athens! Colleges are back in session and the spring season always brings excitement. I expect Wake Forest, Alabama, and Auburn to have a competitive showing over the weekend.
We covered a decent amount of ground today! Being around so many PGA teaching professionals and industry professionals this week really got the juices flowing but I’ll leave all the gory details for next week!
See you then, golf fans.
“See yourself as a leader now. Leadership is an action, not a position.” – Dr. Cindy Pace
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Five at The IX: Best Moments from HGVLPGA
The Party on Tour was the best way to kick-off the season. It was a highly anticipated beginning, with highly entertaining moments. From live concerts, to a celebrity field that came to play, to previous winners putting on a stripe-show…it was hard to look away!
My predictions from last week’s Golf Thursday weren’t that far off, and I definitely took a moment to pat myself on the back!
Congratulations are in order to Danielle Kang for shaking off the cold and making winning in a field of other winners look easy.
Here are my favorite moments from last week:
1. The best girl gang in golf
What’s better than the future of golf coming together to watch their idols? Absolutely nothing.
2. New school meets old school
We can’t even blame Yuka! We’d all fan-girl over the GOAT, too.
3. A round of applause for around the green magic
Gaby has definitely entered the “players to watch” conversation for this season. She was on fire!
4. Michelle “Wiesy” swinging back into action
Seeing Michelle teeing it up will never get old. Also, I need the Nike Air270 golf shoes ASAP.
5. Kang conquers sixth win
Danielle Kang once again is in the winner’s circle and what a finish it was. She stayed in the hunt all week long and came out on top!
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