NAPLES, Fla. — In its first year, the AON Risk Reward Challenge awarded one player from the LPGA and one from the PGA Tour for best playing the holes determined "most strategically challenging" for each event on both tours. The holes were determined before every event, and all season the scores were kept to calculate who had the lowest scores on those holes. The award: $1 million for both the LPGA winner and PGA winner. Brooks Koepka won for the men and Carlota Ciganda won for the women.
Before the tournament started at the CME Group Tour Championship at Tibur´on Golf Club, Ciganda officially received her award. While thanking AON for supporting the LPGA, she broke down in tears.
She thanked AON for awarding both the men and women the same amount of money—a milestone moment considering the total prize money for the LPGA Tour was $70 million in 2019. The PGA Tour, whose season starts in October, passes that number in January.
Ciganda's emotional reaction was a reminder of how significant $1 million is on the LPGA Tour.
When you look at the LPGA Tour's money list, that prize alone would've ranked Ciganda 15th for the 2018 LPGA season. Five years ago in 2014, $1 million would've placed 12th in the money, right behind Suzann Pettersen and a spot above Lexi Thompson.
For even more context, if Ciganda won the first five events in a row on the LPGA calendar in 2019, she'd hit $1.05 million. The money she earned in the 22 events she played leading up to the CME Group Tour Championship totaled $963,602.
Suddenly, those tears make a lot of sense.