Sophia Popov and Kim A Lim both won the major this season, but did not have enough points to enter the CME Group Tour Championship – the closing event of the LPGA Tour 2020 season.

German Golfer Popov won the Women’s Open at Royal Troon, Scotland in August. Player Han Kim has just crowned the US Women’s Open at the Champions Golf Club, Houston on December 14. For each win, the champion is awarded 625 points at Race to CME Globe of the LPGA Tour, while winning the regular event is awarded 500 points.

Kim (left) and Popov (right) are two regretful absences at the CME Group Tour Championship.  Photo: AFP

Kim (left) and Popov (right) are two regretful absences at the CME Group Tour Championship. Image: AFP

That achievement would easily bring the Tour Championship ticket for the top 70 on the Race to CME Globe board. The tournament started today, December 17, at the par72 course of the Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida. However, neither Popov nor Kim is counted. And the most regrettable is Popov.

Popov and Kim didn’t have an LPGA Tour membership card when they won major. Kim’s card is valid for only two years, from 2021.

Before the Women’s Open, Popov from Germany, ranked 302 in the world and had to fight the Symetra Tour Second Division to find a way to rank up. Kim from Korea, ahead of major America, ranked 92th in the world and won most of the domestic competition.

After winning at Royal Troon, Popov received his official membership card in the American arena. Since then, she tried to win a spot to earn a spot at Tiburon, but only got 282 points across seven events and finished 82nd Race to CME Globe. If counted major points, Popov is 16th in this race and will enter the first round today, December 17.

In October, the LPGA Tour announced its decision to raise the Tour Championship list from the top 60 to the top 70 Race to CME Globe, adding two sponsor slots and this year only. At that time, experts said that the special ticket would be for Popov if she did not go through the specialized filter. And last weekend, the story ended because the special ticket pair belong to Natalie Gulbis and Sarah Kemp.

Popov recently moved home to Naples. “I wish I could fight in the settlement,” she wrote above Twitter earlier this week.

The two special rates are the friends of the nominated sponsor. Terry Duffy – CME Group President – said he chose Gulbis because of his acquaintance since 2005 and moreover she was a key factor in his decision to sponsor the Tour Championship. On Golfweek, Gulbis said he didn’t know Popov missed the Tour Championship and insisted he would take the privilege of himself.

Gulbis was one of two golfers to receive the special spot at the season-closing event.  Photo: Naples Daily News

Gulbis was one of two golfers to receive the special spot at the season-closing event. Image: Naples Daily News

And Kemp is the CME brand ambassador. This year, she was cut eight times to 13 awards, remaining the highest goal T19.

Gulbis is a veteran in the LPGA Tour because of joining since 2002. At the beginning of the year, the player born in 1983 revealed his plans to retire when the season is over. But recently, she said she would postpone the sticking for another year because she wanted to fight with a field audience before officially parting with top golfers. This season, Gulbis attended six tournaments, of which five times were eliminated.

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