The total prize fund for the LPGA’s CME Group Tour Championship will double to $5m (€4.41m) next year. The winner will take home $1.5m, the largest first-place prize in women’s golf, significantly more than the $900,000 cheque for the US Women’s Open.
“It’s a game-changing moment,” said LPGA commissioner Mike Whan. “This announcement is really about setting a new standard in women’s golf.”
In a move similar to the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup overhaul, the structure of the Race to the CME Globe competition will change, allowing all the top 60 players who qualify for the tour finale the chance to win a huge pay day. This year just 12 out of 72 players in the field at Tiburón Golf Club in Naples, Florida, can win the Globe.
The move, thanks to CME’s contribution as sponsor, also helps address the massive inequality between prize funds on the PGA and LPGA tours: seventeen LPGA players made $1m last year, compared to 102 on the men’s tour.
“My kids see men walk off greens with $1.5m cheques almost every week,” said Whan. “You never see a woman walk off the green with that.”