Each year in November, women’s golf enthusiasts around the world have their eyes focused on Naples, Florida, on the CME Group Tour Championship where only the “best of the best” shoot it out to complete the year’s LPGA Tour season. This year, of the eye-popping $2 million purse, the tournament winner will take home $500,000 and the winner of the Race to the CME Globe will take home a $1 million bonus.
Kia has been a prominent sponsor of the LPGA since 2010 and also holds it’s annual Kia Performance Awards during these finals days of the tournament. The ceremony recognizes and honors four women for not only their achievements in the sport, but also for the impact they make on their communities with words of admiration and incredible prizing of brand new Kia cars. Now in it’s 3rd year, the Optima and Cadenza were given to previous years winners, but Kia has gone all out in 2014 – bestowing this year’s winners with the new 2015 K900 luxury sedan.
In the ceremony’s opening remarks, the LGPA commissioner Michael Whan gives a heartfelt endorsement of the partnership saying, “Kia lifts us up and makes us a better brand”. Michael Sprague, Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing of Kia Motor America responded with “We know and love the game. We’re honored to be able to recognize the best the game has had to offer in 2014 – four players who have consistently set the bar, both on and off the course”.
Winner of the very first Kia Power Drive Award in 2012, and the Kia Optima that came with it, Brittany Lincicome narrowly wins for a second time this year with an average drive distance of 271.56 feet. From St. Petersburg, Florida, Brittany has finished in the top 10 four times this year, including a runner-up finish at the Wegmans LPGA Championship. A lover of fishing and children, Brittany gave solid advice about accepting awards, “When you’re crying, don’t look at your mom”.
Kia’s Drive to the Top Award is given to the player with the most top 10 finishes, and with 17 so far for 2014, Stacy Lewis claims the title for the third year in a row. With 451 birdies also under her belt, when asked if she was going to go after Power Driver Brittany Lincicome award next year, Stacy playfully retorted, “No, I’m going to stick with the Top 10s…there’s more money that way!” Humble yet spunky in her acceptance, it was clear that having won this award several times has had no effect on her graciousness, “Kia has been so great to us. It’s pretty rare for us to get cars to drive. These awards create extra exposure for us. I feel incredibly grateful to Kia for continuing to be an amazing sponsor.” Having given her first win Optima to her mother (awww), she gave last year’s Cadenza win to her sister and happily teased, “The K900 is mine, sorry Dad!”
As soon as she made her “putt heard around the world” with an incredible shot from 75 feet during the HSBC Women’s Champions, Paula Creamer had the Most Compelling Performance Award in the bag. “The fans make our game, and to have them vote for me for this honor makes this award all the more special,” gleams the 2005 Rookie of the Year. When Paula wins, she wins big!
The final award of the evening focuses on impact on community. Even when ill, Morgan Pressel’s mother was her biggest and most supportive fan. After she passed from cancer, Morgan started the Morgan Pressel Foundation to support breast cancer research. Not only has the foundation raised over $3.5 million in funds, but it has also provided over 6,000 free mammograms via a traveling “mammovan”. Morgan thanked Kia for being “a true partner of the LPGA” during a moving acceptance speech that had everyone in tears.