(Reuters) - The $1 million prize that will be awarded to the winner of the 2019 Aon Risk Reward Challenge will be extremely significant for the women’s tour, LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said on Wednesday.
While 114 players on the PGA Tour earned more than $1 million in official prize money last year, only 14 LPGA players did likewise on the American-based women’s circuit.
The figure illustrates the financial disparity that exists between the two tours, and hence the money on offer at the Risk Reward Challenge is more likely to interest LPGA players rather than their male counterparts on the PGA Tour.
“One-million dollars is more than the winner received at the U.S. Women’s Open last year,” Whan told Reuters on Wednesday as details of the challenge were unveiled.
One hole will be designated at 29 LPGA events for the contest, with a player’s best two scores counting at each tournament.
The PGA Tour will use the same format at 36 events and will unveil the chosen holes later this month.
The player with the lowest scoring average on each tour, in relation to par, at the end of the season will receive $1 million, for a total payout of $2 million.
“The line-up includes a wonderful mix of par-three, par-four and par-five holes, all with their own unique elements and challenges,” said Heather Daly-Donofrio, the LPGA’s chief tour operations officer.
“We are excited to bring these holes to life for our fans and to see how the players navigate them.”
One such example is the designated 11th hole at Mission Hills in California, where the ANA Inspiration will be played in April.
The hole is a par-five that is reachable for those finding the narrow fairway with their drive.
Accuracy allied to a bold game plan and strategic insight should be rewarded.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina, editing by Pritha Sarkar