Aon Risk Reward Challenge to Award $1 Million to the Best Course Strategists on the LPGA and PGA TOUR
Due to COVID-19, risk management is front and center in our everyday lives. In a very different playing field, on a much smaller scale, golfers calculate risk-reward scenarios each time they tee it up. Strategic thinkers on the golf course make informed decisions to maximize their performance.
To that end, Aon, a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement, and health solutions, collaborated with the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour in 2019 to launch the Aon Risk Reward Challenge (ARRC). The season-long competition had a winner-take-all, $1 million payout for each Tour. Pros were required to complete a minimum of 40 rounds. The player’s two best scores (per designated hole) counted at each tournament. Ultimately, two worthy champions were crowned—Brooks Koepka (PGA TOUR) and Carlota Ciganda (LPGA Tour). “An equal prize across both the LPGA Tour and the PGA TOUR is a key aspect of the Aon Risk Reward Challenge. These players face the same challenges each week, so there is no reason not to be rewarded equally,” said Eric Andersen, President, Aon.
Following an exciting inaugural season, the ARRC was set for another stirring year in 2020. Then, the global pandemic hit. Remarkably, the PGA TOUR played through the pandemic. Canadian Nick Taylor edged Max Homa for the top spot and a $1 million prize. However, the LPGA Tour was forced to pause its season for 5 1/2-months. Rather than staging a truncated ARRC, Aon worked closely with the LPGA Tour to redirect the prize money and support a brand-new event, the Drive On Championship, which kicked off the LPGA Tour’s return to play in July. “For Aon, it was important for us to find an approach that would positively impact the players. We felt this new event, in the midst of several canceled tournaments and playing opportunities, supported their wellbeing, particularly during this unprecedented time,” said Andersen.
In 2021, players on both Tours can, once again, look forward to competing for the $1 million, winner-take-all prize. Several Risk Reward holes will be holdovers from previous years with a sprinkling of new ones. The featured par-3s, par-4s, and par-5s are a mix of hidden gems and instantly recognizable holes. At this week’s PGA TOUR Waste Management Phoenix Open, the players will navigate the drivable par-4 17th hole at TPC Scottsdale (Stadium Course). Next week, the contestants will take on the legendary par-5 finishing hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links (AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am). Later in February, the LPGA Tour pros will experience a superb risk-reward hole, the par-5 15th at Lake Nona G&CC (Gainbridge LPGA).
For the complete list of Aon Risk Reward Challenge holes, check out https://www.pgatour.com/aon-risk-reward-challenge. Fans can also keep tabs on the competition, and see how their favorite golfers are doing, through social channels and broadcast coverage.
Previous champions of the Aon Risk Reward Challenge—Ciganda, Koepka, and Taylor—executed their game plans at elite levels throughout the season. Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay, Aon ambassador, NBC/Golf Channel On-Course Analyst, and former caddie for Phil Mickelson knows a thing or two about peak performance. “With this newer generation of players, analytics is becoming a bigger part of the game. They’re making decisions based on data on how well others did when laying up, or playing to a front left pin, or back right pin,” Mackay said. “The [Aon] Risk Reward Challenge is the tournament within the tournament. On the all-important Risk Reward holes, you’d caddy as you would at the end of a regular PGA Tour event. You’d say, ‘Hey, we have a lot on the line here. Let’s think about doing this.’ You’d also be much more likely to suggest a quite aggressive shot to your player if you need to make something happen,” added Mackay. No doubt this year’s ARRC winners will prevail due to their strategic preparation, smart data-driven decisions, strong caddie-player relationships, and the ability to optimize opportunities.
We’ll give Andersen the final word. “At Aon, we use data and analytics to develop insights to help our clients make better decisions. And a round of golf is a series of strategic decisions, where calculated risk can bring a player a step ahead of the competition. We’re thrilled to partner with the LPGA Tour and PGA TOUR and hope the players and fans continue to enjoy the Aon Risk Reward Challenge’s unique program this season.”
To learn more about the Aon Risk Reward Challenge, please visit https://www.pgatour.com/aon-risk-reward-challenge
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/02/02/rising-to-the-moment/