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The CEO of the LPGA’s biggest sponsor has threatened to pull his support of the women’s tour unless its leadership “get their act together”

The CME Group’s Terry Duffy told Golfweek that he was “embarrassed” after no players showed up to the firm’s Global Financial Leadership Conference which was staged in Naples, Florida, last Tuesday.

The CME Group has been the title sponsor of the LPGA’s season-ending event since 2011. The most recent edition took place last week where the biggest first place cheque in the history of women’s golf – a whopping £2million – was on the line. The $7million total purse is the largest on the LPGA outside of the majors.

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CME’s Tuesday night dinner has, in the past, been attended by former US presidents, secretaries of state and business tycoons. A number of LPGA players have also been invited since the event was integrated into the final week of the tour’s schedule.

This year, however, none showed up, much to the annoyance of Duffy.

“It’s an embarrassment to a company of my size and an embarrassment to me personally,” he told Golfweek. “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.

“I’m concerned about the future of the tour because the leadership needs to work with their players to make sure that everybody has a clear understanding of how we grow the game together, along with sponsors and others. You need everybody. They say it takes a village, and I think their village is getting a little fractured.”

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Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan, appointed in 2021, was in the room last Tuesday and has vowed that there won’t be a repeat of this year’s faux-pas.

“There hasn’t been any greater supporter of the LPGA than CME Group and Terry Duffy,” she said.

“There was clearly a disconnect and it’s my responsibility to make sure that this doesn’t happen. On this particular issue, I’m taking full responsibility as a leader of the organisation to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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