Last year, the LPGA added a fifth Major. Now it is adding a season-long points chase ala The FedEx Cup and the Race To Dubai.
It’ll be called the “Race to the CME Globe,” and the winner will walk away with (put on your best Dr. Evil performance here) … one million dollars.
“Race to the CME Globe” is a lousy name. We don’t need another “race,” and I dispute the notion of a “race” spread out over forty weeks. I also question whether having yet another golf “points race” adds anything to the LPGA’s brand.
In the CME Race, players will earn points for their performance in 31 LPGA events. Each regular tournament will offer 500 points to the winner. The five majors will be worth 625 points each. Players will have to make the cut to earn points, but points will only be awarded to the top 40 in events with no cut, and the top 20 for the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, which has a smaller field.
At the end, the top 72 players in the CME Globe would qualify for the Tour Championship. The reset will ensure that only the top three in the standings can win the $1 million bonus by winning the tournament. The top nine are the only ones with a mathematical chance of winning.
Unlike the PGA TOUR, the CME Globe would be a one-tournament event.
I’m a fan of the LPGA (I love their Toledo tournament), but the whole thing does nothing for me. Truth be told, the FedEx Cup doesn’t do anything for me, either.
The LPGA missed the opportunity to do something very different from the Race To The Fedex Cup or the Race To Dubai. Since the LPGA Championship is a one-tournament event, they should have been a match play event. Players would have been seeded based on Globe points, with the top getting first round bye. Insted of taling all season about who has how many points, pundits could speculate on shifting matchups for the first round.
The PGA Tour can’t do this because of the number of people who turn out just to see the big stars. If Tiger, Phil and a handful of others aren’t in the tournament, there are lots of marginal fans who won’t watch.
The LPGA doesn’t have that marquee player problem, so I think they could get away with losing some bigger names in early rounds to develop some genuine drama—the sort of drama which only match pay can provide. Still, to mitigate any possible damage from the loss of Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel or Natalie Gulbis, the LPGA could institute a round robin format, with double elimination.
As it is, we’ve got yet another NASCAR Sprint Cup clone.