Natalie Gulbis receives invite into LPGA finale, but Sophia Popov is refused!

Popov angry after being denied an invite to play in the LPGA Tour's season-ending CME Group World Tour Championship

Andy Roberts's picture
Wed, 16 Dec 2020
Natalie Gulbis receives invite into LPGA finale, but Sophia Popov is refused!

Women's Open champion Sophia Popov has been denied an invite into this week's CME Group World Tour Championship, with Natalie Gulbis and Sarah Kemp receiving invites to the season finale instead. 

Popov, 28, pulled off one of the biggest shocks in golf major history when she clinched her maiden major title with a two-stroke victory at the AIG Women's Open at Troon in August.

However, she was  then denied entry into the year's second major at the ANA Inspiration due to not being a member of the LPGA Tour. The German had initially been a member of the LPGA Tour's feeder league. 

 

 

As a result, Popov's points total for her victory at Troon did not count on the LPGA Tour standings. If they had done then Popov would sit 16th in this year's standings, and comfortably inside the qualification spots for this week's CME Group World Tour Championship in Naples, Florida.

"It’s a fairness thing as far as playing ability," Popov told GolfWeek. "It’s not like I haven’t earned it. I have earned it points-wise, technically."

RELATED: POULTER AND FLEETWOOD FUMING OVER POPOV'S EXEMPTION RULE

 

 

Popov has been overlooked for an invite into this week's event, with American Natalie Gulbis and Australian Sarah Kemp receiving sponsors invites instead as CME ambassadors. 

Gulbis, who won her sole LPGA title at the 2007 Evian Masters, has made just one cut on the LPGA Tour in the past three seasons, while Kemp has never even won on the LPGA Tour before. 

According to a report in The Telegraph, the chief executive of CME Group Terry Duffy has given Gulbis an invite into the tournament because he has "known her since 2005."

"Such a joke," tweeted one irate golf fan on Twitter. "It would have been interesting if she had an American flag next to her name instead of German, or won the US Open instead of British if the decision would have been different."

Golf journalist Gary VanSickle tweeted: "Almost unbelievable. except i believe it. shameful and ignorant."

 

 

Sky Sports Golf's Sarah Stirk put a thinking face emoji in response to golf journalist Doug Ferguson's tweet. 

The winner of the CME Group World our Championship receives $1.5 million. 

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