$1 million is monumental for Aon winner Carlota Ciganda

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$1 million is monumental for Aon winner Carlota Ciganda

LPGA Tour

$1 million is monumental for Aon winner Carlota Ciganda

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NAPLES, Fla. – Few women in golf know what it’s like to have a $1 million payday. What amounts to a weekly occurrence on the PGA Tour is headline news on the LPGA.

Julieta Granada became the first woman to claim a $1 million prize. The greenskeeper’s daughter was 20 years old when she won the 2006 ADT Championship.

“At the beginning it was like ‘Wow that’s so much money, I’m set for life kind of,’ ” recalled Granada. “I was young and immature, obviously. You think that it’s going to last forever. The reality is if I didn’t win that kind of money, I probably still wouldn’t be playing because it was a huge cushion to have. It is life-changing.”

This year an unprecedented three LPGA players will take home seven-figure paychecks. The first was rookie Jeongeun Lee6, who earned $1 million for her victory at the U.S. Women’s Open. This week’s winner of the CME Group Tour Championship at Tiburon Golf Club will collect the biggest check in the history of women’s golf – $1.5 million.

CME Group Tour Championship: Tee times

And the third big-money winner is Carlota Ciganda, who clinched the season-long Aon Risk Reward Challenge, which paid the same $1 million prize to both the LPGA and PGA Tour winners. As the LPGA works to close the pay gap between men and women, Aon’s commitment to equally award Ciganda and Brooks Koepka sends a strong message.

“It really is a source of pride for us to be able to offer equal prize money across both the LPGA and PGA Tour,” said Aon CMO Andy Weitz of the competition that measures the performance of LPGA and PGA Tour players on a series of holes throughout the season. “It’s fundamental to our values at Aon, and it’s something that’s close to our hearts when it comes to diversity and inclusion and the kind of firm we want to be known as in the marketplace.”

Ciganda, 29, is a two-time winner on the LPGA who prides herself on playing an aggressive, risky game. The swashbuckling Spaniard recorded nine eagles on the Aon Risk Reward holes, one more than Ariya Jutanugarn.

When asked to put the magnitude of the payout into perspective, Ciganda looked toward the back of the room at LPGA commissioner Mike Whan and her parents and was suddenly overcome with emotion.

“I love the LPGA,” said Ciganda. “I think for me, it’s a family. This is something big for me, but the values in life is family. It’s a lot of money obviously. I love to play golf. I love to compete, and I don’t think my life is going to change much. I’m going to be doing the same because that’s what I love to do.”

Granada, 33, understands that sentiment well having grown up on tour.

A lower back injury, coupled with wrist surgery led to a rough road in recent years for the Paraguayan, who earned her way back on the LPGA in 2020 by finishing sixth on the Symetra Tour money list. With no endorsements, Granada estimates that she spent $100,000 out of pocket each season for the past three years. Thank goodness she put those ADT winnings in the bank.

“The one thing I’m looking forward to the most is the buffet,” joked Granada of being back on the LPGA. “I’m sick and tired of eating boiled eggs. I’m ready for the omelet station.”

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