It’s official. Kraft won’t be back in 2015 to host the LPGA’s first major of the season, according to a report in The Desert Sun of Palm Springs, Calif. Although next month’s tournament likely be the last year for Oreo overloads and Wienermobile sightings, LPGA commissioner Mike Whan insists that it will not mark the end of jumps into Poppie’s Pond. The first major championship of the LPGA season, no matter what it’s called, will remain at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course, he said.
“Mission Hills and the Kraft Nabisco Championship carry a special place in women’s golf history,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement to Golfweek. “That kind of history deserves the LPGA’s top priority, and we are as confident as ever that our long-running tradition will continue in the desert well after 2014. This tournament is a critically important piece to our schedule, but it’s much more than that. It means something special to so many people, and we’re committed to doing whatever it takes to keep the championship where it belongs.”
Yani Tseng, the 2010 Kraft champion, was happy to hear that there are no plans to move the tournament.
“There is only one tradition we know on the tour forever,” Tseng texted. “And that’s the jump in the pond.”
Amy Alcott, the first winner to leap into the pond adjacent the 18th green at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, said the time has come for a new chapter.
“The tournament, as great as it became and the tradition of it all, the last few years it has lost some of its luster and needs to be rebranded,” said Alcott, a three-time winner of the event. “There’s more that that event can be.”
Alcott plans to partner her business, Amy Alcott Golf, with a to-be-determined sports-marketing agency to find a potential sponsor and submit a bid with the LPGA. While she’d like to see traditions kept alive at Mission Hills, Alcott doesn’t see it as an necessity to stay at the same venue.
The tournament began as the Colgate-Dinah Shore in 1972 and remained under the Colgate umbrella through 1981. Nabisco stepped in to own and operate the event in 1982 as the Nabisco Dinah Shore. Nabisco dropped Dinah Shore’s name in 2000, calling it the Nabisco Championship. In 2002, Kraft took ownership and renamed it for a fourth time, to the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Regardless of all that change, it’s still widely known as “the Dinah Shore.”
No other tournament on the LPGA schedule carries as much tradition as the Kraft. It also is referred to as the LPGA’s version of the Masters, given that it’s the first major of the year and stays at the same course.
Instead of a green jacket, winners are wrapped in a white robe.
Can’t imagine it any other way.