by Jeff Skinner
We don’t have to wait until next week at The Masters for our first major championship. Major season starts tomorrow at the LPGA’s Kraft Nabisco Championship. The Kraft Nabisco has been designated a major since 1982 and boasts a long line of great past champions. Amy Alcott won the first major Kraft and names like Inkster, Bradley, King, Pepper, Sheehan, Sorenstam, Webb, Pressel and Ochoa have won at the Mission Hills Course. In fact the LPGA has played here since 1972.
In recent years we have seen Brittany Lincicome, Yani Tseng and Stacy Lewis make the jump into Poppie’s Pond. It was here last year that Inbee Park started her amazing run of three straight major championships. Park went on to six LPGA wins and earned Player of the Year. She’s the current number one player in the world and he looking to keep her ranking.
Nineteen of the top twenty players in the world will play in the Kraft with number two Suzann Pettersen having to withdraw due to her strained back.
Kraft Nabisco is ending its run as sponsor after this week and Mike Whan is looking for another sponsor. The players are adamant that the tournament stay at Mission Hills. Most vocal was two time champion (’00 ’06) Karrie Webb who is playing great golf with two LPGA Tour wins already this season. Webb was resolute in the fact that this major needs to stay here and went so far as saying that Dinah Shore’s name should be once again added to name of the tournament. “It definitely needs to stay here,” she said. “There’s too much history and too much tradition here. If the LPGA lacks anything, in any other events, it’s that.”
Webb will be looking to make more of her own history this week. The Hall of Famer would like nothing more that to win her third Kraft Nabisco, eight major and 42nd LPGA victory and take another leap into Poppie’s Pond.