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New format explained for $5 million LPGA finale

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NAPLES, Fla. – The Race to the CME Globe becomes the Race to the CME Globe Champion this week.

The difference won’t be as subtle as the name change. In fact, there’s history being made in the changes at the CME Group Tour Championship.

Here’s a primer going into the LPGA’s season finale:

The new format

Under the previous format, 72 players qualified for the Tour Championship in a season-long points race, with the top 12 in points having a chance to win the $1 million season-long bonus. Once in Naples, two competitions were simultaneously staged, one for the tournament trophy in a traditional 72-hole stroke-play competition with a $2.5 million purse and $500,000 first-place check, and one for the CME Globe with its $1 million bonus going to the top point winner at tournament’s end. The points were reset before the season finale.

Under this year’s revamped format, 60 players qualified for the Tour Championship in the season-long points race. In Naples, however, the points are now being abandoned in favor of a winner-take-all competition (this week's winner takes the tournament and the season-long prize) with the event purse doubled to $5 million. All 60 players have a shot at the largest winner’s check in the history of women’s golf ($1.5 million) in a 72-hole stroke play competition with no cut.

The other prizes

The LPGA will honor its top players at its LPGA Rolex Awards Dinner Thursday night at the Ritz Carlton at Tiburon Golf Club.

Jin Young Ko has a chance this week to join Ariya Jutanugarn as the only players to win the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the Rolex Annika Major Award and LPGA money title while ending the season as the Rolex world No. 1.

Jutanugarn did it last year.

Ko currently holds the No 1 ranking and has already locked up the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the Rolex Annika Major Award.

Carlota Ciganda won the $1 million prize as the Risk Reward Challenge winner with the best total scoring average on the designated risk-reward holes through the 2019 season.

TV Coverage (All times ET)

Thursday – 4-7 p.m. (tape delay) on Golf Channel; live stream, 1-4 p.m.

Friday – 4-7 p.m. (tape delay) on Golf Channel; live stream, 1-4 p.m.

Saturday – 4-7 p.m. (tape delay) on Golf Channel;  live stream, 1-4 p.m.

Sunday – 1-4 p.m. (live) on NBC;  live stream, 1-4 p.m.