Last weekend, the LPGA Tour season concluded with the CME Group Tour Championship, where New Zealander Lydia Ko claimed victory and the first prize of $2 million – the most ever in a women’s golf tournament.
However, the win was overshadowed by the absence of any players at a dinner event hosted by CME Group. That led to CEO Terry Duffy declaring he was extremely disappointed that no players attended the event. Nevertheless, recently retired LPGA Tour player Michelle Wie West said she thinks it was due to a misunderstanding.
Speaking to the No Laying Up podcast (opens in new tab), the 33-year-old said: “First of all, I can totally understand Terry’s point of view. To go up on stage and to go through that in front of his friends is very embarrassing. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know firsthand, but I’m sure there has to have been some big misunderstanding between the LPGA, the players and Terry.
“There’s no way that our organization or players would do that on purpose or do that in a purposeful way. So first off, I think there was a huge mistake – a huge misunderstanding between the organization, the players that were supposed to go and Mr Duffy.”
Wie West then explained that, despite the error, the Tour has plenty of respect for the company. She said: “I was surprised that it even made the news outlets. But yeah, I don’t think in any way that our Tour would’ve done that on purpose. Our Tour respects Mr Duffy to the highest extent and we’re so grateful for CME’s support of the Tour Championship.”
“It must’ve been a series of really unfortunate events and that happens in life, unfortunately. It’s a big organization, there’s a lot going on at the Tour Championship – our employees in our organization work four jobs. There’s a million things that the employees of the LPGA do. There must’ve been one missed email or one missed phone call. Unfortunately, this had to happen. It’s a very unfortunate situation but it just must’ve snowballed into this happening.”
Following the event, Duffy expressed his disappointment saying: “It’s an embarrassment to a company of my size and an embarrassment to me personally. I am exceptionally disappointed with the leadership of the LPGA. They better get their act together because they’re going to lose people like me over stuff like this.”
Since first sponsoring the LPGA Tour in 2011, CME Group has become one of its biggest backers.
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