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LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan today announced that Mike Nichols has been named Chief Business Officer of the Symetra Tour â€“ Road to the LPGA, effective July 2. In his new role, Nichols will oversee the development of the Symetra Tour's strategic plan, budget, sales, marketing, owned events, corporate sponsorships and tournament partner relationships, while also identifying new tournament opportunities.
"Mike's experience running and selling professional golf events, securing and retaining title partners and building unique and customized tournament concepts at the LPGA will suit him well in this new role," Whan said. "These skills, combined with his passion for women's professional golf, make him the perfect leader for our Symetra Tour."
Since 2006, Nichols has served as Vice President of Tournament Business Affairs at the LPGA, where he has been charged with oversight of the LPGA Tour schedule and involved in the development and addition of numerous LPGA tournaments. As the primary point of contact at more than 10 of the LPGA's annual sanctioned tournaments, Nichols has been directly involved in tournament contract negotiations, sponsor addition and retention, and the growth of the LPGA tournament schedule. In recent years, he was a key player in the transition of Sybase to title partner of the Sybase Match Play Championship, the acquisition of Navistar and LOTTE as title partners on the LPGA Tour, and the growth of the HSBC Brasil Cup in Rio de Janeiro.
Nichols' appointment as leader of the Symetra Tour comes as Zayra Calderon transitions out of her role as CEO of the Symetra Tour.
"I'm excited to lead the team at the Symetra Tour and play a part in developing the Road to the LPGA," Nichols said. "With a committed tour partner in Symetra, a solid schedule of tournaments, and a talented and engaging group of young women playing, there is a terrific foundation on which to continue to build as we identify the next generation of LPGA Tour stars."
Nichols joined the LPGA in 2006 after a successful stint as Championship Director of the 2005 U.S. Senior Open in Dayton, Ohio, where he built the two-and-a-half year sales, marketing and operations plan for senior golf's premier event and served as liaison between the United States Golf Association, NCR Country Club and the Greater Dayton community. From 1998-2002, he served Executive Director of the Champions Tour's Farmers Charity Classic in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he oversaw the sale of two title sponsorships and the first national broadcast of the tournament in its 16-year history
The 41-year-old has been involved in professional golf since 1994, when he joined the staff of the Royal Caribbean Classic, then sanctioned by the Champions Tour. He served in a variety of roles at that tournament including Sales and Marketing Director in 1997 and 1998.
Nichols completed his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Middlebury College in 1993 and a Masters in Sports Administration from St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida in 1995. He lives in Ormond Beach, Florida with his wife, Mary Beth, and their two children.
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