The IX: Golf Thursday with Carly Grenfell, April 9, 2020
Relive the 2006 ANA Inspiration — Throwback Karrie Webb highlights — Must-click links in women's golf
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Reliving the 2006 ANA Inspiration
The end of March and beginning of April should have been golf’s first major and the first of the 2020 LPGA season. In a world where we’re constantly being told to think about what’s ahead or to just stay in the present moment, we’ve now found ourselves reliving some of the best moments in sports history and reflecting on what ‘should have been’ happening right now.
There’s a lot of nostalgia going on these days. The Masters social media accounts took us back to 1986 this week—when Jack Nicklaus won his sixth green jacket at age 46 (the oldest to ever win The Masters). This inspired me to relive one of the best moments in ANA Inspiration tournament history: 2006.
The ANA Inspiration—formerly known as the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Nabisco Championship, Nabisco Dinah Shore, Nabisco Dinah Shore Invitational, Colgate-Dinah Shore and the Colgate Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle—has a rich history always capped off with an infamous leap into Poppie’s Pond. The leap was a spur of the moment decision, out of pure excitement, from 1988 Champion Amy Alcott. Little did she know she had just started one of the most iconic traditions on the LPGA. Since the tradition began 30 plus years ago, there’s only been one broken leg. (No, seriously, Stacy Lewis’ mom didn’t get so lucky in 2011).
Before we get into more of what the 2006 ANA Inspiration gave golf fans around the world, I’ll get you up to speed on some other important tournament history. This event has been played outside of Palm Springs California since its inception at Mission Hills Country Club. It was first played in 1972 as a 54-hole event and also had the largest purse on the LPGA at the time—double of the Women’s PGA Championship and the U.S. Women’s Open. You could say this event was the start of giving women’s professional golf a much bigger feel. And even today, some might coin it as The Masters of LPGA Majors.
ANA, now the current title sponsor, came on board in 2015 and has helped take this Major to even greater heights. They signed a five year deal and raised the purse to $2.5 million right off the bat. ANA signed yet another extension in 2018 and is locked in as the title sponsor now through 2022. The purse sits at $3 million today and is what will be on the line come September 10-13—the new and recently announced dates of the 2020 ANA Inspiration. The Dinah Shore Trophy carries a ton of prestige, especially if you look at the number of Hall of Famers who have this piece of hardware to their name. Karrie Webb is undoubtedly one of them.
Now back to 2006 when Webb made her second jump into Poppie’s Pond (the first time being six years prior in 2000). It was a drama infused final round especially, that ended in a sudden death playoff between Webb and Lorena Ochoa. Ochoa was no easy opponent to take down, either. The following year, Ochoa spent 158 straight weeks as the top-ranked female golfer in the world, and ultimately retired early and is no considered the best Latin American female golfer of all-time. You could say 2006 was the year propelling her into an insanely impressive stretch at World No. 1.
Ochoa had the first-round lead by four shots, and behind her was Michelle Wie, who was 16 years old at the time. These two held their own at the top of the leaderboard through 36 holes, and again through 54 holes. Webb started working her way up the leaderboard on day two where she finished in the top three, but was still five shots off the lead. She dropped back either further heading into the final day and was now seven shots behind Ochoa with 18 holes to go. Yes, Webb had seven shots to make up for, and she did it in pretty dramatic fashion.
She had to hole out for eagle on the 18th hole of the final round to even force a playoff—and did exactly that from 116 yards out. It only took one extra hole, this same hole she eagled, to take down Ochoa for the victory. This marked her seventh Major Championship and is actually the last major she’s won on the LPGA. It was also the first Major Championship she had one in nearly four years since winning the Women’s British Open in 2002. In all, the Aussie native has won 41 times on the LPGA, which is more than any other active player, and she’s a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Off the course, and the work she’s done for women’s golf over the span of her career, is equally impressive and should be talked about. She started the Karrie Webb Series in 2007 that offers a dozen or more tournaments each year in Australia. Players are awarded points for performance and the top two performers are in for a treat! At the end of the season, they each win a $10,000 scholarship for tournament travel costs and get the opportunity to fly to the United States on an all-expenses-paid trip to watch Webb compete in a major championship.
I already knew that I wanted to be a professional golfer, but staying in your idol’s house for a week and having open access to him and his family was something I will never forget. This is my pay-it-forward for that experience I had with Greg Norman. If there are 20-30 girls I can impact throughout the Series, that’s 30 people who can hopefully also pay it forward to the next generation. It’s going to help women’s golf in general, and Australian women’s golf, in particular. (via LPGA.com)
Karrie Webb will go down as one of the all-time greats, without a doubt, for reasons inside and outside the ropes. The 2006 ANA Inspiration was just one of her many shining moments that I felt was worth looking back on today. And luckily for us, she still hasn’t fully retired. I hope you enjoyed this look back in time until we get back to our regular scheduled programming hopefully sometime in the next few months. If you have any women’s golf ideas for me to talk about—please don’t hesitate to send them my way!
This Week in Women’s Golf
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LPGA are getting bored and taking their talents to TikTok.
The LPGA reports Danielle Kang will launch a fundraiser for COVID-19 relief.
The U.S. Women’s Open is postponed until December, the New York Times reports.
From The Scotsman: Kelsey MacDonald says LPGA merger has saved the LET.
Irish star Stephanie Meadow back in form after regaining fiery mindset, The Irish Sun reports.
From Detroit News: Ally Geer-Park makes bittersweet transition to pro golf after her college season at Michigan State came to an early halt.
We need community now more than ever! Great write-up from the LPGA Women’s Golf Network.
Mike Whan really opens up to Golfweek about how much he hates cancelling and postponing tournaments.
This is must-read piece from Golfweek: looking back at the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amatuer and all it gave us.