NAPLES, FLORIDA | The final event of a spectacular 2022 season is finally here: the CME Group Tour Championship. Sixty of the LPGA Tour’s best will converge on Tiburon Golf Club this week to compete for the coveted $2 million winner’s check and make one final push for the end of season awards still up for grabs.
The CME Group Tour Championship’s $7 million purse is the largest purse of any non-major tournament, beating this year’s Cognizant Founders Cup by a whopping $4 million. The $2 million winner’s check is the biggest prize in the history of women’s golf. This week’s winner, whether they were 1st or 61st on the Race to the CME Globe points list, has a chance to take home the historic paycheck and become the Race to CME Globe champion.
A Note on the Field
Because No. 33 Jessica Korda, No. 51 Inbee Park and No. 52 Linn Grant are not in this week’s event, the 60-player field now includes Nos. 61, 62 and 63 in the Race to the CME Globe. Those three players are major champions Stacy Lewis and Ariya Jutanugarn, along with Pornanong Phatlum.
Only three awards have been clinched so far. Minjee Lee has locked up the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award and Aon Risk Reward Challenge, while Atthaya Thitikul was named the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year during last week’s Pelican Women’s Championship.
Some of the most coveted awards of the year are still undecided – the Money Title, the Rolex LPGA Player of the Year and the Vare Trophy – and won’t be until the final putt drops on Sunday. Though Lee holds a $1.1 million lead over In Gee Chun, there’s too much cash on the line this week, leaving the money title hanging in the balance. The top eight players in official money have a chance to take the title if they capture the CME Group Tour Championship winner’s check.
Lydia Ko leads the race for Player of the Year, but Lee is hot on her heels – just one point behind the Kiwi. Brooke Henderson and Atthaya Thitikul are tied for third just 20 points out of the lead and are still in the running. Ko also leads the tour in scoring average at 69.049 and is well positioned to earn her second Vare Trophy in a row.
Though highly anticipated, the CME Group Tour Championship is just the icing on the cake of a record year. The 2022 season saw increased purses across several events, including a record $10 million at the U.S. Women’s Open presented by ProMedica and two brand new events on the schedule – the Palos Verdes Championship presented by Bank of America and the Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G.
This season has seen 26 different players find the winner’s circle, tying the LPGA record for the most unique winners in a season set in 1991 and 2018. Ko, Lee, Henderson, Thitikul, and Jennifer Kupcho are the only players so far to notch multiple wins in 2022, a reflection of the rapidly increasing parity on tour. A whopping 11 of those 26 champions were Rolex First-Time winners, tying the LPGA record set in 1995.
How to Watch
The CME Group Tour Championship will be televised for all four rounds. Fans can watch rounds one and two live on the Golf Channel on Thursday and Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. ET. The third round will be televised on tape delay from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday ET. The final round will be live on NBC from 1 to 4 p.m. ET.
Rounds one through three can be streamed live from 2-5 p.m. ET and Sunday’s competition will be streamed live from 1 to 4 p.m. ET on golfchannel.com, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.