Call it the Dinah, call it the Kraft Nabisco Championship, call it by its official name, the ANA Inspiration. Make no mistake, this championship, which is being played for the 45th time this week, is the LPGA’s signature event. The first staging of this event, in 1972, marked the start of the LPGA’s modern era. For the record, the tournament was called the Dinah Shore Colgate Winner’s Circle in those days. Jane Blalock was the winner that year; she pocketed a check for $20,050 from a total purse of $110,000. This year’s field will be playing for $2.6 million and the champion will collect $390,000. Defending champion Brittany Lincicome heads a field that features 46 of the top 50 players in the world. Licicome is one of four players to have won this event more than once; her first victory at Mission Hills Country Club came in 2009. The short list of multiple champions also includes Karrie Webb (2000, 2006), Juli Inkster (1984, 1989) and three-time Amy Alcott (1983, 1988, 1991). Lydia Ko is likely the pre-tournament favorite however. Ko has played in this event three times and has never finished higher than a tie for 25th but she’s won twice in six starts this season and hasn’t finished outside the top 15. Ko comes into this tournament off a four-shot win at the Kia Classic last week and successfully defended at the SPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open, an LET event, in February. This tournament will also conclude qualifying for the second edition of the International Crown, which will be held this summer in Chicago. China, Australia, and the Republic of Korea are currently engaged in a three-way battle for the last two of eight slots. The current standings are as follows, courtesy of the LPGA and are based on commulative world rankings for each nation Rank Cumulative Rank 1. Republic of Korea 21 2. United States 39 3. Japan 182 4. Chinese Taipei 196 5. Thailand 354 6. England 355 7. China 378 8. Australia 382 9. Sweden 393 The eight qualifying countries will be finalized after this championship. The four players who will represent each country will be locked in after the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
Published by rwoelfel
Rick has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 35 years. He's covered golf in one medium or another for more than 30. He is the co-author of the book So You Want to Play Golf with PGA professional Kim Verrecchio and the host of the Women's Golf Report podcast. Most recently, Rick served as an associate editor for The Mulligan Magazine. He also served as an associate editor for Philadelphia Golf Magazine and New Jersey State Golf from 2004-07. Rick covered his first LPGA Tour event in 1986 and continues to cover women's golf for various media outlets. High on his bucket list is having the opportunity to one day play in an LPGA Tour pro am. Rick is also a longtime correspondent for two suburban Philadelphia daily newspapers, the Intelligencer and the Bucks County Courier Times in Doylestown, PA. Over the course of his career he has coverzed a wide variety of sporting events. He is also a veteran play by play and public address announcer, and handles the PA mic for the nationally ranked Delaware Valley University football program. Rick is also a longtime contributor to Referee, a magazine devoted to sports officiating. He called his first baseball ganme at age 13 and continues to umpire softball and baseball today. View all posts by rwoelfel