2022 CME Group Tour Championship: How to watch, who’s playing in LPGA’s season finale

Nelly Korda of the United States plays her shot from the 14th tee during the final round of the Pelican Women's Championship.
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The 2022 LPGA season culminates this week at the CME Group Tour Championship, where the top 60 players in the Race to the CME Globe will compete for the $7 million prize purse (with $2 million going to the winner) along with several coveted end-of-season awards at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Fla.

While the Race to the CME Globe is a season-long points competition, there will be no points reset or any points at all involved this week. This is a 72-hole, no-cut competition, and the Tour Championship winner will be crowned “Race to the CME Globe Champion.” World No. 3 Lydia Ko currently leads the race, followed by Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul, who recently won Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors.

Also on the line in Naples is the LPGA Rolex Player of the Year award, as Ko (150 points) holds a one-point lead over Minjee Lee (149) in the standings entering this week. Brooke Henderson and Thitikul (130 points each) also are mathematically in the race for No. 1, as the winner gets 30 points in the POY standings. Additionally, Ko leads the tour in scoring average at 69.049 and looks to earn her second consecutive Vare Trophy. Lastly, the money title hangs in the balance, with Lee holding a $1.1 million lead over In Gee Chun, but the Tour Championship’s whopping prize purse means we may not know who wins it until the final putt drops.

How to watch the CME Group Tour Championship

You can watch the 2022 CME Group Tour Championship on Golf Channel, Peacock, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Here’s the complete TV/streaming schedule:

  • Thursday, Nov. 17: 2-3 p.m. ET, streaming online/app; 3-5 p.m. ET, Golf Channel and Peacock
  • Friday, Nov. 18: 2-3 p.m. ET, streaming online/app; 3-5 p.m. ET, Golf Channel and Peacock
  • Saturday, Nov. 19: 2-5 p.m. ET, streaming online/app; 4-7 p.m. ET (tape delay), Golf Channel and Peacock
  • Sunday, Nov. 20: 1-4 p.m. ET, NBC (also streaming online/app)

Who’s playing in the CME Group Tour Championship

The field for this year’s CME Group Tour Championship features the top 11 players in the Rolex Rankings and 58 players in the top 100. Leading the charge is Nelly Korda, who returned to No. 1 in the world rankings after a win last week at the Pelican Women’s Championship, where she successfully defended her 2021 title.

Three players in the top 60 in the Race to the CME Globe withdrew ahead of the week (No. 33 Jessica Korda, No. 51 Inbee Park and No. 52 Linn Grant), and were replaced by Nos. 61, 62 and 63, respectively: Pornanong PhatlumStacy Lewis and Ariya Jutanugarn.

Also in the field are six past champions (Charley Hull, Ariya Jutanugarn, Sei Young Kim, Jin Young Ko, Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson) as well as all 26 LPGA Tour winners in 2022. Ten players will make their Tour Championship debut:

  • Na Rin An
  • Hye-Jin Choi
  • Allisen Corpuz
  • Gemma Dryburgh
  • Ayaka Furue
  • Sophia Schubert
  • Hinako Shibuno
  • Maja Stark
  • Atthaya Thitikul
  • Lilia Vu

Past champions of the CME Group Tour Championship

2021 Jin Young Ko (South Korea) 23-under 265 1 stroke Nasa Hataoka
2020 Jin Young Ko (South Korea) 18-under 270 5 strokes Hannah Green, Sei Young Kim
2019 Sei Young Kim (South Korea) 18-under 270 1 stroke Charley Hull
2018 Lexi Thompson (USA) 18-under 270 4 strokes Nelly Korda
2017 Ariya Jutanugarn (Thailand) 15-under 273 1 stroke Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda

Last year at the CME Group Tour Championship

Four players slept on the 54-hole co-lead, but it was Jin Young Ko who came out on top following a bogey-free, 9-under 63 on Sunday, winning the $1.5 million prize by one stroke over Nasa Hataoka. Ko battled through a wrist injury that kept her from practicing at the Tour Championship (an injury that has continued to interrupt her 2022 season), but she tied her career-best score for 18 holes on the final day and set the new tournament scoring record in the process, finishing at 23-under 265.

More about Tiburon Golf Club’s Gold Course

Tiburon Golf Club’s Gold Course is one of more than 30 golf courses in the United States designed by Greg Norman. The club originally opened in November 1998 with 27 holes, and nine additional holes were opened in October 2002 to form the Gold Course and the Black Course. Tiburon, which is the Spanish word for “shark,” will play as a par 72 with scorecard yardage for the tournament at 6,556 yards.

The NBC Sports’ golf research team contributed to this report. 

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2023 LPGA Drive On Championship: How to watch, who’s playing in season’s first full-field event

Jin-young Ko of South Korea and Nelly Korda on the 17th tee during the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship.
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The LPGA Tour makes its return to the Arizona desert this week at the 2023 LPGA Drive On Championship at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club. The season’s first full-field event features eight of the world’s top 10 players plus a slew of fresh faces as this year’s rookie class gets its first taste of competition as tour members.

This week’s event features 144 players (plus two Monday qualifiers) competing for the $1.75 million prize purse in a 72-hole tournament that will implement the LPGA’s new cutline policy for the first time. Beginning this week, the 36-hole cut will change from the top 70 players and ties to the top 65 and ties advancing to weekend action. The LPGA says it hopes to “establish a faster pace of play” with the change.”

Arizona last hosted the LPGA for the 2019 Bank of Hope Founders Cup at Wildfire Golf Club, where Jin Young Ko earned her first of four LPGA titles that season. The tour last played at Superstition Mountain in the Safeway International from 2004 to 2008, where Hall of Famers Annika Sorenstam (2004, 2005) and Lorena Ochoa (2007, 2008) each won twice, and Juli Inkster won in 2006.

The tournament marks the first of four events over the next five weeks (taking off the week of the Masters, April 7-10) and kicks off the crescendo that’s building to the LPGA’s first major of the season, The Chevron Championship, April 20-23 in its new location at The Woodlands, Texas. The 72-hole LPGA Drive On Championship features 144 players, in addition to two Monday qualifiers, who will compete for a $1.75 million purse.

How to watch the 2023 LPGA Drive On Championship

You can watch the 2023 LPGA Drive On Championship on Golf Channel, Peacock, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Check out the complete TV and streaming schedule:

  • Thursday, March 23: 9-11 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Friday, March 24: 9-11 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Saturday, March 25: 6-10 p.m. ET, live stream; 7-9 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Sunday, March 26: 6-10 p.m. ET, live stream; 7-9 p.m. ET, Golf Channel

Who’s playing in the 2023 LPGA Drive On Championship

Sitting out this week are world No. 1 Lydia Ko and No. 5 Minjee Lee, but No. 2 Nelly Korda and No. 3 Jin Young Ko are back in action following Ko’s return to the winner’s circle two weeks ago in Singapore, where she held off Korda by two strokes. Also in the field this week are:

  • No. 4 Atthaya Thitikul
  • No. 6 Lexi Thompson
  • No. 7 Brooke Henderson
  • No. 8 In Gee Chun
  • No. 9 Hyo-Joo Kim
  • No. 10 Nasa Hataoka
  • 2022 major winners Ashleigh Buhai, Jennifer Kupcho, Chun, Henderson

Rookies and Epson Tour graduates making their first starts as LPGA members include 20-year-old Lucy Li, a two-time Epson Tour winner who might be best known for playing the 2014 U.S.  Women’s Open as an 11-year-old; South Korea’s Hae Ran Ryu, who took medalist honors at LPGA Q-Series; and 18-year-old Alexa Pano, who finished tied for 21st at Q School to earn her card but might be best known from her role in the 2013 Netflix documentary, “The Short Game.”

Past winners, history of the Drive On Championship

The Drive On Championship was initially created as a series of LPGA events that marked the tour’s back-to-competition efforts following the pandemic. Each tournament used the “Drive On” slogan in support of the tour’s resilience, beginning with the first series event in July 2020 at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, where Danielle Kang won by one stroke over Celine Boutier. The second event, held in October 2020, replaced the three stops originally scheduled in Asia, and was held at Reynolds Lake Oconee Great Waters Course in Greensboro, Georgia. Ally McDonald captured her career first LPGA title by one stroke over Kang.

The last two “Drive On” events were staged in Florida, at Golden Ocala Golf Club (Ocala) in March 2021 and at Crown Colony Golf Club (Fort Myers) in February 2022. Austin Ernst cruised to her third career title at the 2021 edition, beating Jennifer Kupcho by five shots. The 2022 tournament marked a fresh start for the event (no longer including results or records from the 2020 and 2021 events), where Leona Maguire became the first Irish winner on tour with her victory in 2022.

Last year at the Drive On Championship

Ireland’s Leona Maguire gifted her mom and early birthday present with her first career win at the 2022 LPGA Drive On Championship. A 27-year-old Maguire, a standout at Duke and former No. 1 amateur, carded a final-round 67 to finish at 18-under 198 and won the 54-hole event by three strokes over Lexi Thompson. She became the first woman from Ireland to win on tour, and her 198 tied her career-best 54-hole score.

More about Superstition Mountain

Superstition Mountain’s Prospector Golf Course opened in 1998 and was a combined design effort by Jack Nicklaus and his son Gary. The course plays as a par-72 and stretches to 7,225 yards in length, with the women playing it at 6,526 yards. The course was home of the LPGA Safeway International from 2004-08, and was recently selected by Golfweek as one of the “Top 100 Residential Courses.”

Of note, Superstition Mountain is a female-owned facility, originally purchased in 2009 by Susan Hladky and her husband James, who died in 2011. Hladky has made a point of opening her courses to women and college players, twice hosting U.S. Women’s Open qualifying and the site of a 2025 NCAA women’s regional tournament. She’s also given membership to eight LPGA players, who play out of the club: Carlota Ciganda, Mina Harigae, Dana Finkelstein, Jaclyn Lee, Charlotte Thomas, Caroline Inglis, Jennifer Kupcho and Brianna Do.

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2023 March Madness: Utah Utes engineer dramatic turnaround for third-ever Sweet 16 appearance

Members of the Utah Utes celebrate their win over the Princeton Tigers in the second round of the NCAA Womens Basketball Tournament.
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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The No. 2-seeded Utah (27-4) women’s basketball team held off a pesky 10th-seeded Princeton squad on Sunday, winning 63-56 to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championships for the first time since 2005-06 and just the third time in the program’s history.

“I’m proud of our team,” said eighth-year head coach Lynne Roberts after the second-round win at Utah’s Hunstman Center. “We set out to do this a year ago. We lost in this game at University of Texas and the goal was to be able to host (this year) so that we could have that home-court advantage and it made a difference.”

Utah’s fourth-year junior Alissa Pili backed up her recent second-team All-American honor with another 20-plus-point performance, scoring 28 on 8-for 13 shooting with 10 rebounds and going 11-for 13 on free throws. Sophomore forward Jenna Johnson added 15 points and six rebounds.

There’s been a lot of talk this weekend about how the Utes’ previous few seasons have ended – beginning with a rough 14-17 season that was cut short in 2020 due to the pandemic, followed by an abysmal 5-16 record in 2020-21. But the tide turned last year, as Utah rebounded with a 21-12 season that ended with a 78-56 loss to Texas in Austin in the second round of the NCAA tournament one year ago.

So, what changed?

“Last year, everyone was new to the NCAA tournament, so I think everyone was just experiencing it for the first time,” mused Johnson. “Losing in the second round last year, we’re definitely a lot hungrier this year, and then obviously hosting in Salt Lake, it’s fun just being in your own environment, to be around your own fans. I think it gives us an elevated level of confidence, both knowing what it’s like to play in this tournament and also getting to be at home.”

“Yeah, freshman year was kind of rough,” added third-year sophomore Kennady McQueen, who chipped in nine points Sunday. “We did experience losing a lot. … Coach Roberts, she said we are not going to have another season like that. We all stood behind her — the people that stayed — and brought in great people like starting last year with Jenna and Gi (Gianna Kneepkens) and people like that who have had a huge impact in helping us to where we are today. …

“When you get together a group of people that have the same goal in mind and will do make anything to make it happen, I think that’s where we have seen our success rate going up. This past offseason, we just kept getting better, and of course, the addition of the Alissa Pili really helped. When you bring a group of girls that have the same dream and same goal at the end of the year and doesn’t care about personal stats more than winning, I think we get the season that we have today, and it prepares us for deep run in March.”

In particular, McQueen believe it was Utah’s improvement in their defense that was crucial to the turnaround. “Everyone knows how good we are on offense, but if we can’t get stops, it doesn’t matter how good you are on offense,” she said. “So that’s just been a key the whole past off-season and all of this season — just getting better on defense.”

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Roberts credits their defensive improvement with a “philosophical mindset change,” explaining, “We worked on [defense] a lot differently, a lot more intentionally. Strategically we made some changes of how we are going to defend, and I won’t bore you with that. But there was a lot, just different things because you have to play to your strengths. You can’t be a run-and-jump pressing team if you don’t have the depth and athletes to do it. You can’t be a zone team if you are not super big. You have to figure out what fits your personnel, and so that’s what we did.”

There’s also the undeniable impact of Pili, a transfer from USC who has found her stride as a Ute, where she recently was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year.

“She kind of is the straw that stirs the drink for us right now,” Roberts said regarding the 21-year-old Alaska native. “She’s a nightmare to defend because she can shoot the three, and she’s also really athletic and mobile, so it doesn’t matter who we are playing. I think you have to gameplan for her. But then with her three-point shooting, you know, you have to pick your poison.”

But Roberts also gave plenty of kudos to Johnson, whom she describes as “phenomenal.”

“She’s 19 going on 40,” Roberts said of Johnson. “She’s the most mature, even-keeled consistent player we have. What I love about her is she is who she is. She’s confident in who she is. She knows who she is. She also is incredibly busy off the court.

“We were talking as we were getting ready to watch film, just shooting the breeze a bunch of us, we were talking about movies. And she was like, Oh, I don’t watch movies. Why not? I don’t have time. I get bored. What do you mean you don’t have time? Do you watch shows? No, I don’t ever watch TV. It is because she is doing all of these other extracurricular activities.”

As for guiding the Utes to becoming a championship program, Roberts still sees it as an uphill battle – but one that she and her players are ready for.

“I always use the analogy of pushing the boulder up the hill,” she said. “And doing things for the first time, you have to have that mindset. You have to keep pushing. It’s been incredibly fun to see the support, and I think the swell is a perfect word for it. Most importantly, our players feel it.

“This is why you play, right? And it means so much. I know I say it over and over, but this is not going to be a flash-in-the-pan [season]. This isn’t going to be a ‘Oh, remember that year they had such an incredible year?’ We are going to keep doing it.”

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