NAPLES, Fla. – What does Michelle Wie think of the $1.5 million payday possible at the CME Group Tour Championship this week?
“My first, initial thought is, 'That’s a lot of shoes,'” Wie cracked Tuesday at Tiburon Golf Club.
The LPGA wanted a big-bang finish to its year, and that is what it’s getting this week with 72 players teeing it up in the season finale. There’s the $1 million jackpot for the winner of the Race to the CME Globe, a season-long points race, and there’s $500,000 up for grabs for the winner of the Tour Championship. That’s the biggest potential payday in the history of women’s golf.
But that isn’t all that is hanging in the balance.
The Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex world No. 1 ranking, the official money title and the Vare Trophy are all in play this week for Stacy Lewis and Inbee Park (see below).
While Wie isn’t in on the Player of the Year competition, she could punctuate the end of a brilliant season with an exclamation point. She won the Lotte Championship and the U.S. Women’s Open earlier this season, and she also won the inaugural Rolex Annika Major Award as the best player in women’s major championships this season. The CME Globe and its $1 million jackpot would be another reward for her consistency this season. Consistency was the only real goal Wie focused on at the year’s start.
“It’s funny, [my manager] said this feels like the final day of school,” Wie said. “No, it feels like final exams. Everything matters this week.
“Obviously, the stakes are very high. I’m nervous and what not, but good golf will take care of everything. You’ve just got to go out and hit the shots.”
Wie hasn’t fully recovered from the injury to her right index finger suffered in late July. She tweeted Tuesday afternoon that she spent more than three hours getting treatment with the LPGA physiotherapy team. Wie was diagnosed with a “stress reaction” to the finger after hitting out of a deep divot at the Marathon Classic. She missed about two months recovering in the second half of the season.
“It’s just day-to-day for me right now, because it kind of flares up from time to time,” Wie said. “Unfortunately, it has been taking a very long time to heal.”
Wie has been playing well through discomfort since coming back for the fall Asian swing. She tied for fifth at the LPGA KEB HanaBank and tied for third at the Blue Bay LPGA Classic.
Here’s what is at stake this week:
Race to the CME Globe
The winner of the season-long points race takes home $1 million, with second place earning $150,000 and third place $100,000. Only the top nine in points can win the big jackpot, and only the top three are guaranteed they’ll win it if they win the CME Group Tour Championship. The points were re-set for this week’s final event:
1. Stacy Lewis 5,000
2. Inbee Park 4,500
3. Lydia Ko 4,000
4. Michelle Wie 3,600
5. So Yeon Ryu 3,200
6. Shanshan Feng 2,800
7. Anna Nordqvist 2,400
8. Chella Choi 2,000
9. Karrie Webb 1,600
There are 3,500 points available to the winner of the CME Group Tour Championship with 2,400 for second place, 2,200 for third, 1,800 for fourth and points awarded down to 210 for 40th place.
Rolex Player of the Year
Lewis and Park are the only players who can still win the points-based award. Lewis won it in 2013, Park in 2012. The POY standings:
1. Lewis 229
2. Park 217
There are 30 points up for grabs to the winner of the Tour Championship, with 12 points for second place and nine points for third place, with points awarded down to just one for 10th place.
Rolex No. 1 world ranking
No. 2 Lewis can take back the No. 1 ranking from Park if she wins the Tour Championship and Park finishes tied for third or worse.
The official money title
Lewis and Park are the only players who can win the money title.
1. Lewis $2,502,309
2. Park $2,209,460
First place pays out $500,000 this week.
The Vare Trophy
For practical purposes, the trophy for low scoring average this season is also down to Lewis and Park. Lewis has a 69.48 scoring average, Park a 69.57 average. Park would have to beat Lewis by roughly 10 shots this week to take the trophy. Lewis won the Vare Trophy in 2013, Park in 2012.