The 2014 LPGA Tour season is running wide open. With four events now on the books and the Founders Cup just a week away, it’s time to take a look at the year-long Race to the CME Globe. Paula Creamer‘s well out in front of the pack with 921 points heading into the Founders Cup, trailed by Karrie Webb, who has 742 points. Jessica Korda, with 587 points, Anna Nordqvist with 573 and Stacy Lewis with 541 are nipping at each others’ heels and playing hard to establish some kind of advantage as they chase the million dollar carrot.
With her spectacular 75 foot putt on the 2nd playoff hole at the HSCB Womens Champions Creamer ended a long winless streak, took a big jump in the Rolex Rankings, and bumped Jessica Korda out of the lead in the year-long Race to the CME Globe.
Creamer started the season strong in January, finishing the first two Tour events, the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic and then the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, in 3rd place ties. Then she stumbled through the 2nd round at the Honda LPGA Thailand and wasn’t able to get back the 5 shots she gave away, but was back in the zone when she teed off at the HSBC Womens Champions.
At 742 points, the Aussie veteran’s holding a strong second place in the year-long Race and she’s only played in three of the four Tour events. (Her unfortunate DQ at the Aussie Masters won’t put a blemish on her LPGA record because the Masters was co-sanctioned by LET and ALPG.) Webb, who’s Rolex Ranked No. 6, skipped the Pure Silk-Bahamas, won the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, finished the Honda LPGA Thailand in a tie for 19th and and took a solo third place at the HSBC Womens Champions.
With her solid, consistent technical game and her all-business approach to competition, Webb’s not easily distracted from from the work at hand.
Korda started the 2014 season with a big bang when she claimed her second pro victory at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, and that put her at the top of the Race to the CME Globe rankings for a while. But despite some heroic effort, Korda couldn’t sustain the game she played in Bahamas. She followed that victory with tie for 19th at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, then a tie for 36th at the Honda LPGA Thailand, and finally, with her boyfriend visiting and helping her celebrate her 21st birthday, a 56th place finish at the HSBC Womens Champions. Going into the Founders Cup, Rolex Ranked No. 27 Korda has dropped to 3rd place and is a scant 14 points ahead of Anna Nordqvist. Korda needs to take a page out of Karrie Webb’s playbook and get back to business. She needs some top-10 finishes just to hold her place in the Race.
Rolex Ranked No. 15 Nordqvist has struggled through a very long winless period and she started the 2014 season reluctantly, giving serious thought to quitting the game. Like Karrie Webb, she took a pass on the season-opening Pure Silk-Bahamas and picked up the Tour during the Australia-Southeast Asia loop. The Swede’s season-opener was the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, and she finished well down the board, in a tie for 45th place. Then, at the Honda LPGA Thailand, her A game came out of the bag, she got a victory and a pile of Race to the CME Globe Points, and a big boost to her morale and self confidence. Nordqvist’s 24th place finish at the HSBC Womens Champions was a bit of a letdown, but with the seismic shift in her mental game that came with the Thailand win, Nordqvist could play the game we all know she has as the season unfolds.
America’s top ranked golfer is running a close 5th in the Race to the CME Globe without a single victory on her 2014 resume. Lewis, who’s Rolex Ranked No. 3, behind Inbee Park and Suzann Pettersen, has been playing consistently superb golf. She finished the Pure Silk-Bahamas in solo 2nd place, moved on to the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and a tied 6th place finish, then to the Honda LPGA Thailand and a tie for 5th place. She stubbed her toe at the HSBC Womens Champions with a tied 40th place finish, but she’s coming into the Founders Cup as defending champion and back playing on home soil. Lewis is only 32 points behind Nordqvist, 46 points behind Korda. A top-10 finish would put her in 3rd place. A win would put her in the lead.
The Race to the CME Globe is new so projecting the points allocation is still a bit unfamiliar. However, the basic framework is fairly straightforward.
Points will be awarded to LPGA Members at all Official LPGA Tournaments in the following manner:
- For all events with a cut, points will be awarded to Members who make the cut
- For all events without a cut (except for the Lorena Ochoa Invitational) points will be awarded to Members who finish top 40 and ties
- For the Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex, points will be awarded to Members who finish in the top 20 and ties
- The winner of each Official LPGA event will receive 500 Race to the CME Globe points
- The five LPGA major championships will carry 25% more value and the winner of each LPGA major championship will receive 625 Race to the CME Globe points
- Full point distribution tables are listed on the LPGA website (www.lpga.com).