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Whan exploring playoff-like competition for LPGA

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NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Titleholders is signed on as title sponsor for the LPGA event through 2016, but it might be hosting a completely remodeled season finale in the future.

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan says there is nothing concrete in the works, but he is very interested in devising some sort of season-long competition that would end with a pair of trophies being given away in the season finale.

“I would like at some point to do something FedEx Cup like,” Whan said. “I don’t mean playoffs, but I would like it, on the 18th green, if two trophies were being lifted and two checks presented. That would be good for my players, and I think it would be good for the tour. That’s Mike dreaming.”

The LPGA not so long ago did feature a playoff system. The tour rolled out plans for it before the PGA Tour announced the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

From 2006-08, the LPGA Playoffs culminated with a champion crowned at the ADT Championship at Trump International in West Palm Beach, Fla. A $1 million check, the largest in the history of women’s golf, was presented to the playoff winner. The format made the winner of the ADT Championship the overall playoff winner.

Whan seems interested in something different than that. He has watched the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs with interest since becoming the LPGA commissioner almost four years ago.

“When the playoff thing first came out, I didn’t really get it,” Whan said. “I didn’t really understand the points on the men’s side. We can’t really do playoffs, but I do like the idea of a season-long race where somebody can lift a mega trophy and a mega check.”

Whan said the current CME Group Titleholders format will be in place for at least one more year while he has his staff explore potential season-long competitions. The CME Group Titleholders currently rewards the top three finishers in each LPGA event with a berth in the season finale. After the year's first event, it becomes the first three finishers not already qualified for the season-finale.