Chevron Championship Preview
It's the end of a storied era as the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills takes one final bow as host of the first major championship of the season.
50 years ago, Shore, a famed entertainer in American culture, helped to found this prestigious tournament in California that was eventually granted major status in 1983, though its stature had already been established due to its considerable prize fund and strong field that gathered annually to compete.
In the decades that followed, the Dinah Shore became the LPGA Tour's answer to the Masters Tournament, a springtime curtain-raiser that was played on the same layout each year.
From Amy Alcott to Juli Inkster, Karrie Webb to Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa and Inbee Park, many a legendary figure has triumphed here and taken that celebratory dive into Poppie's Pond.
But this year's champion will be the last to experience that unique part of golfing folklore as following the involvement of a new title sponsor, the Chevron Championship will relocate to the Houston area from 2023.
For those who revere tradition and familiarity, it's a bittersweet farewell, but the riches on offer from this new guise are deep.
2022 Chevron Championship
The prodidious Thai golfer Patty Tavatanakit is the defending champion, her success 12 months ago the first of several breakthrough major winners throughout 2021. The 22-year-old is more than capable of securing a repeat victory, with Sorenstam the last player to claim back-to-back titles in 2002.
However, most eyes will be on the incredible Jin Young Ko, the 2019 champion, who has produced a staggering run of relentless form. Her recent HSBC Women's World Championship title was her sixth win in ten starts, a remarkable rate of victories, but the statistics are even more incredible.
She extended her tour record for consecutive sub-par rounds to 34 on Sunday, but her run of rounds in the 60s ended at 16 on Friday.
With Nelly Korda absent following treatment for a blood clot, Jin Young Ko is the clear favourite to translate those astonishing numbers into a third major title.
But the likes of Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson, Danielle Kang and new LPGA winner Atthaya Thitikul will expect to contend, as will the legendary Inbee Park, who can never be discounted from the biggest events.
Nanna Koerstz Madsen, Leona Maguire and Charley Hull are likely the standout names from a European perspective, while Australians Minjee Lee and Hannah Green can make a strong case too.
Most of these players have grown up with the Dinah Shore as a spring tradition, walking in the footsteps of greats. Change is coming, but there is one final chance to be part of a story that began half a century ago.
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