LPGA Tour to introduce points race and bonus system
New system will end in a big-money prize for the best player
The US LPGA Tour is going to a points race this year, offering US$1 million to the winner of the new "Race to the CME Globe".
Instead of the US PGA Tour's model of four tournaments with gradually reduced fields leading to the Tour Championship, the women will earn points for 31 events going into the CME Group Tour Championship.
The points will be reset giving weight to whoever had the best year. The winner will win a US$1 million bonus.
The race will be the "bow on the present" of the women's tour's strongest schedule in years, tour commissioner Mike Whan said on Wednesday.
It has added events in Michigan and San Francisco, and created an Olympics-styled event called the International Crown aimed at determining the best nation of golfers.
Whan hinted at a season points race when the tour wrapped up its season in November, saying he liked the idea of two trophies presented at the end of the year.
The FedEx Cup on the men's tour began in 2007 and went through three years of changes to cut through the confusion.
The European Tour followed shortly after with its "Race to Dubai" that was tweaked this year to culminate with four big events at the end.
Jon Podany, the chief marketing officer for the US LPGA Tour, said the top 72 players in the Race to the CME Globe would qualify for the Tour Championship.
The reset will be structured in such a way that only the top three in the standings can guarantee the US$1 million bonus by winning the tournament, while only the top nine in the standings will have a mathematical chance to win the bonus and a crystal globe.