NAPLES, Fla. – What a difference a year makes. One year ago, CME Group Chairman and CEO Terry Duffy was “exceptionally disappointed” in how events outside the ropes unfolded at the CME Group Tour Championship.
The future of one of the most lucrative events on the LPGA schedule was uncertain after not one player showed up to Duffy’s Tuesday night dinner. Duffy’s beef was more with tour leadership than with the players.
“They better get their act together,” Duffy told Golfweek last year, “because they’re going to lose people like me over stuff like this.”
One year later, Duffy and LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan were posing together for pictures after a blockbuster announcement that included a purse increase from $7 million to $11 million in 2024 and a first-place prize of $4 million, up from $2 million this year. CME also announced a two-year contract extension. Beginning next year, the tour championship will boast the largest first-place prize in all of women’s sport.
Duffy said he and Marcoux Samaan got together several times throughout the year, and that those conversations helped give him confidence to move forward with the LPGA.
“I think it was more of a breakdown more than anything else,” said Duffy of last year’s drama. “As I said, when communications go bad, a lot of other things can snowball with it. I think we started to see a little bit of that.”
The format for this year’s Tuesday night festivities was different than last year but LPGA officials reported that every player in the field showed up.
“As Terry said, communication is the key,” said Marcoux Samaan, “and being accountable for things that don’t go perfectly. We had communication right after the incident and we continued during the season. As he said all along, I just wanted to push you guys to be better. We moved on right away and moved on to the future and we moved on to continuing to work together to elevate the tour and elevate our impact.”
This marks the 10th anniversary of the CME Race to the Globe points list, which is used to not only determine the season-ending field, but also who gets a card for next season.