Season recap — Women’s golf’s best moments in 2022
The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, Dec. 1, 2022
Welcome back to another Golf Thursday my friends! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and if you can believe it, we only have four more Golf Thursdays left in 2022. I’m not sure where the time went but this feels like a wonderful opportunity to recap what an incredible year of golf we just witnessed.
It’s pretty safe to say that the 2022 season on the LPGA Tour was a continuation of the good things we saw just a year ago in 2021. From major purse increases, to tournaments being back on the schedule for the first time since the pandemic started, to a slew of players (11 to be exact) winning on tour for the first time — this season was one for the record books.
Since we had last week off, let’s take our minds back to two Sundays ago and the CME Group Tour Championship.
After the first two rounds, I was sure that Lydia Ko had secured the historic $2 million prize, but Leona Maguire had a red-hot round on Saturday to place her in the final group on Sunday. With tough, wet and rainy conditions the drama began to unfold on the back nine.
Anna Nordqvist almost had a come-from-behind victory after carding the lowest round (66) for the day. While the 14th hole, a par five, nearly bested Ko and Maguire after two wonky looking approach shots.
But ultimately Lydia Ko does what she does best, and that’s staying calm under pressure and just playing her game, “It didn’t matter if somebody made a bogey or a birdie. I just wanted to make my share of birdies, and if I did make a mistake, to know that there was another hole I could recover from.”
On top of clenching the season ending victory with the biggest first place prize in women’s golf history, Ko capped off her incredible season by winning Rolex Player of the Year and the Vare Trophy.
The 2022 Vare Trophy awards the season’s lowest scoring average of. Ko’s scoring average was 68.988, making it the second-lowest Vare Trophy-winning scoring average in Tour history, behind Annika Sorenstam’s 68.70 in 2002.
With the CME Group Tour Championship victory, the Rolex Player of the Year honor and the Vare Trophy, Ko now has 25 points toward qualifying for the LPGA Hall of Fame, two points shy of the 27 needed to be inducted.
One last note about the CME Group Tour Championship…the day before the final round Beth Ann Nichols of Golfweek published a piece highlighting some miscommunications between the LPGA and one of its biggest sponsors.
“I am exceptionally disappointed with the leadership of the LPGA,” Terry Duffy, CME Group CEO, said. “They better get their act together because they’re going to lose people like me over stuff like this.”
“I’m concerned about the future of the tour, because the leadership needs to work with their players to make sure that everybody has a clear understanding of how we grow the game together, along with sponsors and others. There’s no one person, no two people who can grow it alone. You need everybody. They say it takes a village, and I think their village is getting a little fractured.”
Those are strong words coming from Duffy and I’d expect that Commissioner Marcoux Samaan has already handled the situation with Duffy in private.
I’ll be interested to see how in 2023 the tour makes efforts to interact with sponsors at events — so we’ll definitely be keeping an eye out.
Not too far from the CME Group Tour Championship, Stage II of Q-School was battling severe weather that required a play suspension but nevertheless the top-50 and ties advanced to Q-Series, which commences today in Mobile, Alabama at Robert Trent Jones (RTJ) Magnolia Grove.
The Q Series, is a two-week, eight-round (144 holes) stroke play format. After four full rounds of play (this Sunday), there will be a cut to the top-70 and ties. Those top performers will then travel three hours to Dothan, Alabama. where they will compete at Highland Oaks Golf Course. On December 11, the top-45 and ties with the best cumulative scores over two weeks of competition will receive LPGA Tour status for 2023.
The Q Series isn’t available to watch but you can follow along for live scoring.
Although there is so much to unpack with this season, I can help but to look ahead to 2023 and what it will have in store. The 2023 schedule will play 33 official events with a record-breaking total prize fund of $101.4 million. From the Solheim Cup in Spain, to Pebble Beach…next year is going to be nothing short of iconic.
It has been a record breaking season with so many notable moments! I’m breaking down five of them in this week’s Five at The IX, don’t miss them. See you next Thursday, golf fans.
This week in women’s golf
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Five at The IX: The best moments across the world of women’s golf
Last dive at ‘Dinah‘
We saw the end of an era this April. The Chevron Championship, formerly the ANA Inspiration, was held at Mission Hills for the last time. With Chevron bringing in more money as a major sponsor, the event location has been moved to Texas for 2023.
Jennifer Kupcho snagged her first ever win on tour at the first major of the year.
There was a lot of controversy heading into the AIG Women’s Open. Muirfield had a very strict policy that didn’t allow women on its grounds, and this year they were the venue chosen to host the women’s British Open.
And in typical major fashion, it was a battle to the very end with Ashleigh Buhai, in her 221st career LPGA Tour start, tasting sweet victory.
She became the first woman champion at Muirfield, joining names like Gary Player and Ernie Els.
The belle of the ball this year was, no question, Anna Davis. She won the Augusta National Women’s Amateur back in April, and made a couple LPGA cuts this year!
The 16-year-old grabbed the attention of the golf world as the bucket hat wearing lefty who is a cool as a cucumber.
Stanford vs. Oregon
But this year’s NCAA national championship showdown between Stanford and Oregon was something special. It was the first time the top-two ranked teams faced each other in a championship and it didn’t disappoint.
Lydia’s return to the top
I don’t have to say too much more than that Lydia deserves this moment. She’s kind, she dedicated, and she looks like she enjoying golf again. Watching her play is effortless and I can’t wait to see how she builds on this incredible season in 2023.
Honorable mention: the prize money!!!
This season’s total prize money rounded out to nearly $90 million, and it all started with the US Open purse being set at $10 million.
2023 is set to bring in over $100 million…it’s only up from here people!
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