Terry Duffy, the chairman and CEO of CME Group, which serves as title sponsor of the LPGA’s lucrative season-ending event, vented about the “embarrassment” of having no players show up for a pre-tournament dinner last week at the CME Group Tour Championship, Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols reported.
Duffy placed the blame squarely at the foot of “the leadership of the LPGA.”
CME Group, which has title-sponsored the LPGA finale since 2011, funds a $7 million purse that is surpassed by only three of the five major championships on the women’s tour. CME Group, a Chicago-based financial-services company that is listed on the S&P 500, holds its Global Financial Leadership Conference each year in concert with the CME Tour Championship at Tiburón Golf Club in Naples, Florida. This year, not one of the unidentified players who were invited to attend the dinner showed up.
“It’s an embarrassment to a company of my size and an embarrassment to me personally,” said Duffy, who then targeted his ire at tour executives.
“I am exceptionally disappointed with the leadership of the LPGA,” he told Golfweek’s Nichols. “They better get their act together because they’re going to lose people like me over stuff like this.”
Mollie Marcoux Samaan became the LPGA’s commissioner 18 months ago, having replaced Mike Whan, who left after a decade of growth to head the USGA. She called the snub “a disconnect,” adding “it’s my responsibility to make sure that this doesn’t happen.” READ MORE
The LPGA Tour will play 33 tournaments for a record $101.4 million in prize money next year, the women’s tour announced Friday during its season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.
The tour will play in 11 American states, including Pebble Beach Golf Resort’s first hosting of the U.S. Women’s Open, which will feature a record $10 million purse on July 6-9. The LPGA also scheduled four stops in a seven-week midseason span in New Jersey, capped by the Women’s PGA at storied Baltusrol Golf Club on June 22-25.
The LPGA will visit 12 foreign countries, including a three-week Asia swing early in the year and a four-week Asia swing in the fall.
The season begins Jan. 19-22 with the Hilton Grand Vacation Tournament of Champions at Lake Nona in Orlando, Florida. READ MORE
The 2026 Solheim Cup will be played at Bernardus in Cromvoirt, Netherlands, the LPGA and Ladies European Tour announced. The course, a 2018 design by American architect Kyle Phillips, has hosted the DP World Tour’s Dutch Open in 2021 and 2022 and is scheduled to be the site of the Netherlands’ national open again in 2023. The biennial Solheim Cup pits the top female professionals from the U.S. against their European counterparts in three days of match play. Next year’s edition will be played at Finca Cortesín in Spain before the biennial series returns to even-numbered years beginning in 2024 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia. The U.S. leads the series, 10-7, but Europe has won the past two editions. READ MORE
In LIV Golf news:
A federal judge in Jacksonville, Florida, dismissed the defamation lawsuit filed by Patrick Reed against Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee and other prominent members of the golf media, deeming it a “shotgun pleading” but giving the former Masters champion and LIV Golf player until Dec. 16 to file an amended complaint. READ MORE
Though they have withdrawn their names from LIV Golf’s federal antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour, golfers Talor Gooch, Phil Mickelson, Hudson Swafford and their agents still are subject to pretrial discovery, a judge ruled in California. READ MORE
Attorney Larry Klayman filed a second amended lawsuit against the PGA Tour that alleges an antitrust conspiracy to restrain trade and harm golf fans in Florida by eliminating the rival LIV Golf tour “in its infancy.” READ MORE
Honda is on the way out after four-plus decades of title sponsorship on the PGA Tour, Golfweek’s Adam Schupak reported.
The Japanese automaker, which has sponsored the Honda Classic since 1982 and claims the longest-running uninterrupted title-sponsorship deal on the PGA Tour, will not renew after the 2023 event, which is set for Feb. 23-26 at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
The Honda Classic, which will start the tour’s annual four-stop Florida swing, has been squeezed out by bigger tournaments in recent years. In 2023, the $8.4 million Honda will follow the Genesis Invitational and precede the Arnold Palmer Invitational, both $20 million events, on the schedule. Though many PGA Tour players live within a short commute of PGA National, the Honda has not attracted a top field in recent years. READ MORE
Jimmy Dunne was named an independent director of the PGA Tour Policy Board, the tour announced. Dunne, 65, the vice chairman and senior managing principal of investment bank Piper Sandler, will replace the retiring Victor Ganzi and join chairman Edward Herlihy, Mark Flaherty, Mary Meeker and Randall Stephenson as independent directors. READ MORE
The PGA Tour approved two new pathways for Division I college golfers to gain membership through the PGA Tour University program beginning in 2023. READ MORE
Golf made its third marquee appearance on ESPN’s “College GameDay” pregame college football show as Nick Faldo, the six-time major champion who recently left CBS Sports’ golf broadcasting team, appeared as the celebrity picker. The show aired from Montana State’s campus in Bozeman, near where Faldo lives on a ranch, ahead of the Montana vs. Montana State game known as the “Brawl of the Wild.” On Sept. 10, Scottie Scheffler received his PGA Tour Player of the Year award during the pregame show at his alma mater, Texas. Earlier this month, Jordan Spieth sat in as the celebrity picker on the show, also in Austin.
The golf industry continues to reap the benefits of the COVID-fueled participation boom as courses and companies report a robust overall financial health, according to a recent National Golf Foundation report. In a self-assessment survey taken of public and private facilities in September, nearly two-thirds of the 450 public courses and 80 percent of the 234 private ones that responded reported double-digit-percentage increases of operators’ views of their courses’ financial health from two years earlier. Golf companies reported similar results last month, with 78 percent of the 103 industry leaders who responded giving their businesses top marks for financial health, nearly doubling the pre-pandemic results. READ MORE
Stewart Hagestad was among 16 players invited to the U.S. Walker Cup practice session next month for what could be his fourth consecutive berth in the biennial amateur matches against Great Britain and Ireland. Hagestad, 31, of Newport Beach, California, and winner of the 2016 and 2021 U.S. Mid-Amateur titles, will be the only American at the Dec. 15-18 session in Jupiter, Florida, with previous Walker Cup experience. He competed in the 2017, 2019 and 2021 matches, all U.S. victories. The others invited by the USGA to prepare for the 10-man squad that will play in the Sept. 2-3 Walker Cup at St. Andrews’ Old Course in Scotland: Evan Beck, Michael Brennan, David Ford, Nicholas Gabrelcik, Derek Hitchner, Palmer Jackson, Benjamin James, Bryce Lewis, Dylan Menante, Maxwell Moldovan, Gordon Sargent, Cole Sherwood, Ross Steelman, Caleb Surratt and Michael Thornjornsen. READ MORE
Champions Retreat Golf Club, the Evans, Georgia, club which hosts the first two rounds of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, won a $7.8 million tax deduction in a case that had been litigated for nearly a decade, The Augusta Chronicle reported. READ MORE
The PGA Tour Latinoamérica will honor what would have been the 100th birthday of Argentina’s greatest golfer with the Roberto De Vicenzo Memorial 100 Years tournament on March 23-26 at Ranelagh Golf Club in Buenos Aires, which was the late champion’s home course. The tournament will be the fifth event of the 2023 season on the PGA Tour developmental circuit, which has not released its season schedule. READ MORE
Justin Suh, who swept the Korn Ferry Tour’s points titles in the regular season and playoffs, was named the player of the year in balloting by his peers on the PGA Tour’s top developmental tour. Suh, a 25-year-old Californian, posted 10 top-10 results in 24 starts, including his first professional victory, en route to earning fully exempt status this season on the PGA Tour. READ MORE
Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas, Texas, will be the site of two U.S. junior national championships, the USGA announced. The 2025 U.S. Junior Amateur and the 2031 U.S. Girls’ Junior will be played at Trinity Forest, a 2016 design by Texan Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore. Trinity Forest hosted the PGA Tour’s AT&T Byron Nelson in 2018. READ MORE
Compiled by Steve Harmon