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Thursday, January 9, 2014

The New Race to the CME Globe

It's possible you didn't hear about the newest wrinkle in the LPGA's 2014 season. Other bloggers -- most notably, the Constructivist -- have already done posts about it. You'll definitely want to read his post and the links within it, 3 of which I'll list here just to make sure you know which post is which:
This post is my take on the new LPGA season-long points race called the Race to the CME Globe.
new Race logo
The LPGA paid a lot of attention to the FedExCup and Race to Dubai setups, and tried to pick the best aspects of each while minimizing the weaknesses. For example, the points system is simpler so it should be easier for fans to keep up with who needs to do what to win.

The most interesting aspect to me is how they decided to handle the final event. As with the other tours, there's a point reset right before the final event -- which has changed its title from the CME Group Titleholders to the CME Group Tour Championship -- so no player can lock up the points race before the final event. (Shall we call this the Vijay Singh Rule?) Otherwise the points work the same as in the other tours' races... except only 9 players will have a mathematical chance of winning the LPGA's Race. And only the top 3 "control their destiny."

And only 3 players get payouts. The winner gets $1mil, second gets $150k, third gets $100k. This is really close to a winner-take-all situation. That's definitely more interesting, don't you think?

In addition, CME Group will run a season-long program for the Wounded Warriors Project. Every eagle made during a weekend round at any LPGA event will result in a donation of $1000.

Based on what I've heard so far, this sounds like a great publicity generator for the LPGA. (Just consider how much the FedExCup sparked buzz for the PGA Tour.) It sounds like they've avoided most of the big problems that the other tours had to tweak in their points races. And at a point where many players are considering staying on their home tours and avoiding the LPGA's travel schedule, it's a huge carrot to lure those players back.

But most of all, it seems to highlight how well Michael Whan has managed the LPGA during hard times... and how attractive it has become to sponsors. After the economy tanked and hurt the Tour so badly, did we ever expect to see a Corporate Race to the LPGA? Yet it appears that's exactly what we have here. If the International Crown event (the new 8 country team competition in July) works out as planned... and the Race works out as planned...

Who knows what we might see next from the LPGA?

2 comments:

  1. It is going to be an exciting final event. Remember the purse for the CME is $2,000,000. First prize is $500,000. It is quite possible that someone could walk away with $1,5000,000.

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  2. It definitely should be interesting. One-and-a-half million is a lot of cash, no matter what tour you're on!

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