The Formula: How New Zealand’s Top Golfers Lydia Ko and Ryan Fox Became Tour Champions


Stephen Alkire has already done itAnd the Lydia Ko On the brink and Ryan Fox He must beat world No. 1 Rory McIlroy.


New Zealand’s triple slay on the world stage has made 2022 a golden year – arguably the best – for New Zealand sport.

If Ko and Fox can match Alkire, this weekend, by winning the Tour Championships on the LPGA and DP World Tours, respectively, he could arguably be left out of the above statement.

British Sir Bob Charles And the US Open Championship by Michael Campbell The victories, and Lydia Koe’s two major championships, were iconic weeks in New Zealand sporting history – not to mention golf as an individual sport – but never before had three Kiwis simultaneously engaged in the conversation of champions of three separate and important Tours.

Read more:
* Stephen Alker raised earnings for the year to $7.44 million
* ‘Padraig kicked my ass today’: Stephen Alker slides in the Schwab Cup
* How Lydia Ko Got Her “Lucky Charm”
* PGA Tour Champions: Kiwi golfer Steven Alker wins again before dropping the prize
* GOLF: Stephen Alkire is confirmed for the New Zealand Open but didn’t expect Ryan Fox to play
* The multi-million dollar statistic places Lydia Ko among the top three players of all time

Alker, one of the best feel-good sports stories in the country this year, finished third in the final event of the PGA Tour Champions – The Charles Schwab Cup Championships in Phoenix Monday (NZ time) – to top this year’s money list and earn himself a $1.63m bonus as the tour’s biggest money earner.

The year Ulker made his PGA Tour Champions debut saw him win four tournaments and rack up 19 top-10 finishes in 24 events for $7.44 million — including bonus.

By the end of this weekend, Ko and Fox could join him as Tour champions.

It’s a tall order for Fox, and Ko needs to be newly acquired The consistency of 2022 is to last four more rounds, but here’s how to turn this weekend into Kiwi golf folklore.

Ko, ranked No. 3 in the world, will complete her breakout season at the CME Group Tour Championships, the culmination of the Race to the CME Globe.

The Race to the CME Globe is a season-long competition where players collect points to enter the Tour Championship. The winner becomes the champion of the race to the CME Globe.

The final event on the LPGA calendar is worth $7 million, with the winner taking home $3.25 million – the largest winning prize in women’s golf history.

Thanks to Ko’s very strong year, the Kiwi ace started the tournament, at the Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida, as a Major in the Rolex Player of the Year and Vars Cup.

The Player of the Year ranking is calculated by separate point systems from all 31 LPGA events throughout the year.

Ko (150) leads the Player of the Year standings by 1 point behind Mingye Lee, 20 points ahead of Brooke Henderson and Ko’s first-round partner this week, Ataya Teticul.

Ko’s win at the CME Group Tour Championship would seal all three trophies but there are several substitutions that could see her land one or all of the prestigious trophies.

For Henderson and Theticol to have any chance of lifting the Player of the Year out of Ko’s grasp, they’ll need to win this week and hope Ko and Lee finish third or worse. If this duo fails the 60-player, 72-hole, no-cut championship, the player of the year will come down to a two-woman shootout who beats out Ko and Lee.

Lydia Ko is the favorite to win the LPGA title of the year and the race to the CME Globe.

Chung Sung-jun / Getty Images

Lydia Ko is the favorite to win the LPGA title of the year and the race to the CME Globe.

Ko (3,071.693 points) has a much wider gap over Thitikul (2,690.127) and Lee (2,531.453) in the race for the CME Globe – a crown that Ko previously won in 2014 and 2015.

The Vare Trophy, which Ko won in 2021, is awarded to the player with the lowest scoring average for the season. With an average of 69.049, ahead of Hyo Joo Kim (69.364) and Atthaya Thitikul (69.435), Vare Trophy has closed out safely for another year on Ko.

But it’s not just about sweeping the three biggest gongs of the year that Ko plays. The Player of the Year and the Vare Trophy winner each earn a spot in the LPGA Hall of Fame.

If Ko, who already has 22 points, wins both points, she will be just three points short of the 27 needed to be an automatic inductee.

For Fox to win the season-long points race on the DP World Tour (formerly the European Tour), take home the Harry Vardon Trophy and move into pole position, he needs to finish ahead of McIlroy in this week’s $16.2M heats at DP World . Tournament Tour at Jumeirah Golf Estates, Dubai.

Ryan Fox needs to beat Rory McIlroy to be in contention for this year's DP World Tour Champion.

Stuart Franklin / Getty Images

Ryan Fox needs to beat Rory McIlroy to be in contention for this year’s DP World Tour Champion.


fresh from it Second place behind Tommy Fleetwood at the Nedbank Challenge at Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South AfricaFox concludes what is arguably the best year of his career at the final DP event of the year.

Mathematically, seven players can claim a meritocracy but the other five, Matt Fitzpatrick, Fleetwood, Victor Hovland, Shane Lowry and Adrian Meronc, all need to win or finish second and count on McIlroy and Fox for first.

McIlroy competed in just nine events on the DP World Tour this season to Fox’s 23 but was ranked number one on the tour ahead of Fox and Fitzpatrick.

With the winner at the end of the season, fantastic banking $4.88 million, McIlroy and Fox with $8.56 million in season earnings and $5.43 million in rounds this year, it’s not out of the question for the Kiwis to snag the first money spot.

Only the top 50 seeded players will compete in the Dubai Championships.

As a guaranteed top 10 player on the DP Tour, Fox has already earned his PGA Tour card for 2023 regardless of his result in Dubai.

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