LPGA, PGA Tour introduce $1 million Aon Risk Reward Challenge
NEW YORK -- The essence of a golf scorecard long has been about "how many," not "how." On the LPGA and PGA Tour in 2019, "where" will figure prominently.
The Aon Risk Reward Challenge, a season-long competition, will reward a player on each tour with $1 million for having the best performance on a selected hole at each tournament.
The challenge takes the best two scores from every participating event in which a player competes -- minimum of 40 rounds -- with the prize money going to the golfer with the best average score to par on the designated holes.
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan and player Lizette Salas were in Manhattan on Wednesday to promote the initiative sponsored by Aon, a global professional services firm that has begun multiyear relationships with both tours.
"It's really neat that we're starting to see things rolled out on both tours at the same time, for the same amount of money with the same amount of risk and reward over the course of a season," Whan said.
The Aon Risk Reward Challenge on the LPGA starts next week at the season-opening Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions on the par-4 16th hole at Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons Resort in Orlando, Florida.
"This is definitely huge, not only for women's golf but women in general," Salas said. "I feel like equality is important. With having Aon step in and including women with this $1 million Risk Reward Challenge is huge for us. When you hear 'a million dollars,' it definitely catches everybody's attention. When we got the news, we were super excited and grateful for the opportunity to do this."
The competition will be comprised of 16 par 5s, 10 par 4s and three par 3s.
"We worked diligently to create a strong stable of holes, which would test players' ability to think strategically each week," said Heather Daly-Donofrio, chief tour operations officer for the LPGA. "We are excited to bring these holes to life for our fans and to see how the players navigate through them, particularly down the home stretch, where four of the last five risk-reward holes are par 5s."
England's Charley Hull led the LPGA in par-5 scoring last season, with a 4.57 stroke average.