The first major of the 2015 LPGA season will be held at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, California. Since this tournament became a major, in 1983 as the Nabisco Dinah Shore, it has had its share of name changes and this year is no exception. The tournament this year will be the ANA Inspiration.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) has a deal of five years to be the title sponsor of the event and the name of the event is based upon the airline’s Inspiration of Japan slogan. The tournament starts on April 2nd and runs through Sunday, April 5th.
Only Inbee Park the second ranked player in the world has a chance of overtaking Lydia Ko as the No. 1 ranked player this week. Park would become No. 1 with a win if Ko were to finish in a five-way tie for second or third or worse.
If Park were to finish second alone, she would be No. 1 if Ko finishes worse than 33rd. However, Park, who won the event in 2013, is fighting an injured right wrist.
Ko will be paired with Lexi Thompson the defending champion during the first two rounds. Inbee Park will play with last week’s winner Cristie Kerr for the first two rounds. Ko and Thompson start early while Park and Kerr have an afternoon tee time.
Sixteen-year-old Haley Moore was the winner of the ANA Inspiration Champions Junior Challenge Monday and earned the final spot in the field of 115 players. She will be one of six amateurs playing in the four-day tournament. Augusta National will be respecting amateurs in the same way next week for the men.
Last year Thompson was able to win by driving her ball brilliantly and not having to worry about the penal rough. However, she was quick to point out that this year’s event has a different setup. Thompson said it was playing different as it has been watered a significant amount and is playing softer.
The rough is deeper, which in a major is just where it should be, added Thompson. The course will play tougher, with players needing to keep their ball in the fairway. As the course is tree-lined and has high rough, the fairway is the only place to be, concluded Thompson.
While the big drives of Thompson were what garnered most of the attention in her first major title last year, her putting was brilliant as well.
Not only will the high rough impact shots off the tee, but around the greens with the rough deeper than last year, players will have tricky shots to get up and down.
The greens do have a few spots that are still brown that could affect the roll of the ball, but probably not.
This event is going to be a great display of golf from the females, hopefully another showdown for the LPGA like 2014.