Annika, Nancy Lopez at the Rolex Awards

by | Nov 19, 2021 | LPGA

The LPGA Tour presented many of its highest honors at the Rolex Awards Banquet at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort on Thursday evening.

However, big ones like the Rolex Player of the Year and Vare Trophy for the lowest batting average will only be determined after the CME Group Tour Championship on Sunday.

“It felt like a year-end college track and field celebration,” said LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan on Friday morning. “We are all a team that comes together and celebrates the organization and success of our athletes.”

Nelly Korda and Jin Young Ko are the contenders for Player of the Year, and Lydia Ko and In Gee Chun are competing for the Vare Trophy.

Golfer Annika Sorenstam smiles during the red carpet for the LPGA Tour Rolex Awards on Thursday November 18, 2021 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Florida.

Attendees included Hall of Famers Annika Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez, and the following awards were given:

The founder award – Lydia Ko

Heather Farr Perseverance Award – Madelene Sagstrom

Ellen Griffin Rolex Award – Deb Vangellow

Rolex First Time Winners – Patty Tavatanakit (Chevron Championship), Wei-Ling Hsu (Pure Silk Championship), Yuka Saso (US Women’s Open), Matilda Castren (LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship), Pajaree Anannarukarn (ISPS Handa World Invitational), Ryann O ‘ Toole (Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open)

Commission Award – Judy Rankin

Rolex ANNIKA Major Award – Patty Tavatanakit

Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year – Patty Tavatanakit

More:CME Group Tour Championship: New LPGA Commissioner meets national media on Friday

More:LPGA’s CME Group Tour Championship: Solheim Cup teammates Mina Harigae and Jennifer Kupcho start hot

More:CME Group Tour Championship notebook: Nelly Korda stays in position after the first round

Jin Young Ko Fights Wrist Injuries: The player of the year candidate has a left wrist injury that has flared up to such an extent that she hardly trains before her rounds. That didn’t affect their Friday.

Ko, the defending champion, shot a 5-under 67 to move to 8 under for the tournament.

“My caddy said number 11 yesterday, he said, ‘This is pointless if you have a really serious injury. You can retire or whatever,'” Ko said on Friday. “But I said, ‘Yes, I’m sick right now, but I don’t want to retire from the tournament. I wanted to play up to 18 holes yesterday.’ I had frosting last night and it got better. “

Ko, who said that hitting riders is the thing that bothers the wrist the most, said if this wasn’t a season-end tournament or $ 1.5 million at stake, she would have considered retiring.

Playing partner Lydia Ko, no relative, was impressed that Ko could play so well with the injury.

“Golf is hard enough to play in 100% health and nice weather, but in order to have a persistent injury, it’s one thing to just feel pain, but if in the back of your mind you know you might be feeling pain, then you are Somehow it got off balance again, “said Lydia Ko, who shot a 68 and is behind Jin Young Ko. “The level of golf she played at shows that she is a grinder.”

Dates in the next year: The LPGA Tour released its schedule for 2022 on Friday morning, and the CME Group Tour Championship will return to the Tiburón Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort from November 17-20.

As announced earlier this week, the prize pool will increase from $ 5 million to $ 7 million, with the winner’s check increasing from $ 1.5 million to $ 2 million. Players who make the field will also earn at least $ 40,000.

“What you have done here with this whole thing – with everything that CMA has done with the points and the championship, it changed the whole dynamic,” said Marcoux Samaan on Friday morning. “Just think about last week when people tried to go to this event and have a full season competition, it creates more energy and more excitement. This tournament with the first prize of $ 1.5 million and an increase to $ 2 million next year, that means game changed.

“Then with the announcement this week that every player has a guarantee of $ 40,000 if they make it into the top 60, they’ll be guaranteed $ 40,000. This is extremely important for our players. I think that is again part of the overall view of equal pay. I think Terry Duffy and CME believe in justice and he tries to inspire others to take on the same challenge. “

Family Golf Clinic today: Registration from 1.30 p.m. to 2.00 p.m., subsequent seminar from 2.00 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. Parents must register at to reserve a place for juniors. All juniors and their accompanying adults receive free entry to the tournament.

Parking for clinic visitors starts free of charge on Saturday at 1 p.m. Equipment is provided, but juniors are encouraged to bring their own.

Watch the round live on Saturday in the stream: The Golf Channel broadcast for round three will be delayed on tape from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., but fans can enjoy live coverage with Terry Gannon (play-by-play), Judy Rankin (analyst), Tom Abbott (tower) and Jerry . see Foltz and Karen Stupples (on track) on NBC, the NBC Sports app, or Peacock from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

NBC will broadcast the final round live on Sunday from 1pm to 4pm

Greg Hardwig is a sports reporter for the Naples Daily News and The News-Press. Follow him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @NDN_Ghardwig, email him at [email protected] Support local journalism with this special subscription offer at