ANA Inspiration Preview
Founded in 1972 by Colgate-Palmolive chairman David Foster and American singer Dinah Shore, the tournament now entitled the ANA Inspiration has become one of the most iconic events on the LPGA Tour, contested at the same course each year, and since holding major championship status in 1983, the likes of Lydia Ko, Inbee Park, Lorena Ochoa, Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb and Juli Inkster have triumphed at the Mission Hills Country Club in California.
Now celebrating its 50th edition, former champion Park, one of the all-time greats, returns in ominous form, having just secured a dominant victory on Sunday at the Kia Classic. The South Korean has won seven majors, but none since 2015, however many will back the 32-year-old to end that drought and once again take that euphoric leap into Poppie's Pond.
"It was a great week this week," Park said. "It was my first week back out in three months or so, and I played so good. I mean, I couldn't believe how I was doing out there this week. I thought this week was just kind of a preparation for next week, but I exceeded so much more. I'm just really happy."
Additionally, eyes will also be drawn towards Lexi Thompson (winner here in 2014) who finished runner-up to Park at the weekend. The 26-year-old is now back up to sixth in the Rolex World Rankings and ALWAYS plays well at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course, including a fourth place in the delayed championship of last September.
“Absolutely love going to the ANA Inspiration,” Thompson said at the weekend. “It's my favourite golf course that we get to go to. There are some things that I need to tighten up in my golf game going into next week. But I have a full three days, practice rounds, and some practice time to get it ready.”
Mirim Lee was the surprise winner in 2020 - producing a short game masterclass that ultimately overcame the formidable obstacles of Brooke Henderson and Nelly Korda. Both will be fancied to redeem themselves this week.
World number one Jin Young Ko will also rank among the favourites, especially as she missed her championship defence last year due to COVID concerns, the 2019 winner didn't return to the United States until later in the year.
Elsewhere, Danielle Kang, Lydia Ko, Sei Young Kim, and Minjee Lee are potential contenders, with British hopes resting on the shoulders of Charley Hull, Georgia Hall, and Mel Reid, who shot a disappointing 77 at the Kia Classic to fall out of the mix on the final day.
The first major on the golf calendar is always memorable, and despite a lack of crowds, the ANA Inspiration is set to be another fine showcase for the women's game.
Be part of the action with a selection of unique golf tournament experiences, from playing in a pro-am with the stars to watching the action at golf’s most illustrious events. Whether it’s the Masters or The Open, The Ryder Cup or WM Phoenix Open, build your own bespoke package with the experts at Golfbreaks.com.
What do you think? leave your comments below (Comments)