LPGA points race conjures memories of past playoffs


Six years after the demise of the LPGA Playoffs at the ADT, the women’s best players are welcoming the return of another $1 million payday in a new season-long competition.

The new Race to the CME Globe unveiled Wednesday on Golf Channel excites players who remember the buzz the LPGA Playoffs once created for the season finale at Trump International in West Palm Beach, Fla. LPGA pros played off for a $1 million prize dramatically showcased with armored guards protecting a glass cube full of cash on display at the event. Those playoffs lasted just three years, with the event folding with the departure of ADT as a title sponsor after the ’08 event.

“I always liked the season-ender, when there was a reward for a great, consistent year with the possibility of a big payday, if you can save something special for the end of the year,” said Hall of Famer Karrie Webb, a member of the LPGA’s Board of Directors.

Julieta Granada won the first million-dollar payday in the history of women’s golf, winning the playoffs in ’06 at Trump International. Lorena Ochoa won it in ’07 and Jiyai Shin in ’08.

While the new Race to the CME Globe isn’t a playoff, it’s another season-long competition that will end with a big-bang finish in the season finale at the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., Nov. 20-23.

“I really like the concept of a year-long points race that rewards consistent play rather than one good week,” Webb said. “I like the fact that the points will reset for the CME Group Tour Championship and allow for a larger group of players to have the opportunity to win the Race to the CME Globe. It should provide an exciting year with a very exciting finish.”

Count Morgan Pressel among those applauding the return of a season-long competition. Like Webb, she competed in the old LPGA Playoffs.

“I think it will be a lot of fun to see how it plays out in its first year,” Pressel said Wednesday in her appearance on “Morning Drive.” “Some of the other tours have had success, with the Race to Dubai and the FedEx Cup. It keeps people interested and gives us something to play for. I like playing for a million dollars. I like having that chance.”

The LPGA Playoffs at the ADT used points for first- and second-half qualifying for the playoffs, but the winner wasn't crowned based on points at the season finale. Instead, stroke play decided things, with the field dramatically cut from 32 players to 16 players after two rounds. Scores were then wiped clean with another cut to eight players after the third round. Sudden-death playoffs added more drama breaking any ties for the top eight. Scores were wiped clean once again before the final round, with the low final-round score taking home the jackpot.