ANA Inspiration: A decade of champions from Ochoa to Ryu

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ANA Inspiration

ANA Inspiration. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The ANA Inspiration always delivers high-octane competition, especially on the back nine on Sunday!

The ANA Inspiration, traditionally the LPGA‘s first major championship in the season, was founded by Dinah Shore in 1972. A long-time fan and supporter of women’s golf, Dinah didn’t pick up the sticks until she was 52. And she was never particularly good at the game.

Shore described her game this way: “When I break 100 they send up a flare.”

That doesn’t mean Dinah Shore didn’t love golf. She became the first female member of LA’s Hillcrest Country Club and made Mission Hills her home away from home. She gave to women’s golf and to the women’s pro game a special kind of Hollywood glitz and glamor. That legacy endures at her signature Mission Hills event.

Variously named the Colgate-Dinah Shore, the Nabisco-Dinah Shore Invitational, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, and the ANA Inspiration, this golf tournament is special. There’s a week-long women’s music and entertainment festival surrounding it. And Palm Springs is as much about the fun and frolic of The Dinah as it is about the on-course competition.

Amy Alcott, who won the tournament in 1983, the first year it was a major championship, and again in 1988 and 1991, started the Poppy’s Pond leap. In 1991 a 75-year old Dinah Shore, the godmother of the American women’s game, went in with her.

It was a Sports Center moment and it became a cherished and enduring celebratory tradition. Every woman who has won this event and many who haven’t but hope for the victory dream about how they’ll make their leap into Poppy’s Pond uniquely memorable.

By any name, this tournament embodies the uniquely American women’s golf tradition.

Let’s take a lookback at the past decade of champions.

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