LPGA awards scenarios: Breaking down CME Sunday

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2016, 11:58 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn will battle Sunday for more than the CME Group Tour Championship.

They’ll battle for a major haul of coveted season-long awards.

But they aren’t the only players in the mix.

In Gee Chun is in position to take home the Vare Trophy.

Here’s a breakdown of how the season-long awards and honors are shaking out:

Rolex Player of the Year

This is the simplest race of all.

If Ko wins the CME Group Tour Championship, she will be the Rolex Player of the Year, based on the points standings. If Ko doesn’t win, Jutanugarn will be the Player of the Year. No other scenarios exist.

Race to the CME Globe

Jutanugarn, Ko and Brooke Henderson rank 1-2-3 in the season-long CME Globe points race.

Ko and Jutanugarn are guaranteed to win the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot if either of them wins the CME Group Tour Championship. They’re two shots back going into Sunday’s final round.

Henderson is also guaranteed to win the jackpot by winning the Tour Championship, but she starts Sunday 10 shots off the lead.

Here’s how it goes between Ko and Jutanugarn . . .

If Jutanugarn finishes second or third Sunday, Ko must win to claim the $1 million jackpot.

If Jutanugarn finishes fourth, Ko must finish second or better to win the jackpot.

If Jutanugarn finishes fifth, Ko must finish third or better to win the jackpot.

It keeps going pretty much like that . . .

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Sei Young Kim, Shanshan Feng, In Gee Chun, Minjee Lee and Haru Nomura also have chances at the $1 million jackpot, but their chances are slimmer now with Ko and Jutanugarn both contending for the Tour Championship title.

If Kim wins the Tour Championship, she will claim the $1 million jackpot if Jutanugarn finishes fifth or worse and Ko finishes fourth or worse. If Ko finishes third in this scenario, she will meet Kim in a CME Globe playoff.

If Feng wins the Tour Championship, she claims the $1 million jackpot if Jutanugarn is sixth or worse and Ko is fifth or worse. If Ko finishes fourth in this scenario, she will meet Feng in a CME Globe playoff.

The scenarios for Chun, Lee and Nomura to win the $1 million jackpot require Ko and Jutanugarn to slip farther out of contention.

For example, if Chun wins the Tour Championship, she doesn’t have a chance at the $1 million jackpot unless Jutanugarn finishes outside the top nine and Ko outside the top six. Notably, there would be a three-way playoff for the $1 million jackpot if Chun were to win the Tour Championship, Jutanugarn were to finish 10th and Ko were to finish seventh. 

Vare Trophy

Lydia Ko leads In Gee Chun by .006 points in the battle for the Vare Trophy for low scoring average.

Ko takes a 67.571 scoring average into Sunday, Chun a 67.577 average.

Ko and Chun also happen to be paired together Sunday.

How close is the race?

If Chun beats Ko by a shot Sunday and posts a score of 70 or lower, Chun wins the Vare Trophy. If Chun beats Ko by one shot Sunday but posts a score above 70, Ko wins the Vare Trophy.

They’re the only two players with realistic shots to win the trophy.

Money title

Ariya Jutanugarn leads the LPGA money list with $2,475,218 in earnings.

Ko is second, trailing Jutanugarn by $17,305.

Nobody but Jutanugarn or Ko can win the money title.

Here’s the CME Group Tour Championship money breakdown for the top 10 places:

1. $500,000

2. $164,299

3. $119,187

4. $92,201

5. $74,211

6. $60,718

7. $50,823

8. $44,527

9. $40,030

10. $36,431

Getty Images

Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

Getty Images

Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon. 

Getty Images

Stock Watch: Spieth searching for putting form

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:50 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


Patton Kizzire (+8%): By today’s accelerated standards, he’s a late bloomer, having reached the Tour at age 29. Well, he seems right at home now, with two wins in his last four starts.

Rory (+7%): Coming off the longest break of his career, McIlroy should have no excuses this year. He’s healthy. Focused. Motivated. It’s go time.

Chris Paisley (+5%): The best part about his breakthrough European Tour title that netted him $192,000? With his wife, Keri, on the bag, he doesn’t have to cut 10 percent to his caddie – she gets the whole thing.

Brooke Henderson (+3%): A seventh-place finish at the Diamond Resorts Invitational doesn’t sound like much for a five-time winner, but this came against the men – on a cold, wet, windy, 6,700-yard track. She might be the most fun player to watch on the LPGA. 

New European Ryder Cuppers (+2%): In something of a Ryder Cup dress rehearsal, newcomers Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton each went undefeated in leading Europe to a come-from-behind victory at the EurAsia Cup. The competition come September will be, um, a bit stiffer.


Jordan’s putting (-1%): You can sense his frustration in interviews, and why not? In two starts he leads the Tour in greens in regulation … and ranks 201st (!) in putting. Here’s guessing he doesn’t finish the year there.

Brian Harman’s 2018 Sundays (-2%): The diminutive left-hander now has five consecutive top-10s, and he’s rocketing up the Ryder Cup standings, but you can’t help but wonder how much better the start to his year might have been. In the final pairing each of the past two weeks, he’s a combined 1 under in those rounds and wasn’t much of a factor.

Tom Hoge (-3%): Leading by one and on the brink of a life-changing victory – he hadn’t been able to keep his card each of the past three years – Hoge made an absolute mess of the 16th, taking double bogey despite having just 156 yards for his approach. At least now he’s on track to make the playoffs for the first time.

Predicting James Hahn’s form (-4%): OK, we give up: He’d gone 17 events without a top-15 before his win at Riviera; 12 before his win at Quail Hollow; and seven before he lost on the sixth playoff hole at Waialae. The margins between mediocre play and winning apparently are THAT small.

Barnrat (-5%): Coming in hot with four consecutive top-10s, and one of only two team members ranked inside the top 50 in the world, Kiradech Aphibarnrat didn’t show up at the EurAsia Cup, going 0-3 for the week. In hindsight, the Asian team had no chance without his contributions. 

Getty Images

Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might

By Tim RosaforteJanuary 16, 2018, 1:40 pm

Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.

“I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”

Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”

“If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”

Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)

Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”

Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.

“He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"

As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

"I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.

Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”