Only One No. 1 Has Won Kraft Nabisco
Since the Rolex Women's World Rankings debuted in February 2006, only one player ranked No. 1 has gone on to capture the first major championship of the year, the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Lorena Ochoa won the 2008 Kraft Nabisco Championship less than a year after overtaking Annika Sorenstam for the top spot.
Not that the top-ranked player is jinxed entering the tournament, but Yani Tseng may think there is something to being more low key about being the favorite. In 2011, as the defending champion, she entered the final round with the lead and lifted the trophy on the first tee, shot a 74 and placed second behind Stacy Lewis. Last year, Tseng mentioned that she had been practicing at home in Orlando for the celebratory jump into the water hazard on Mission Hills Country Club's final hole. She was tied for the lead entering the final round, shot 73 and finished one stroke out of a playoff.
Here's how the No. 1-ranked players have fared:
|Year||No. 1 Player||Result||Winner|
|2006||Annika Sorenstam||T6||Karrie Webb|
|2007||Annika Sorenstam||T31||Morgan Pressel|
|2008||Lorena Ochoa||Win||Lorena Ochoa|
|2009||Lorena Ochoa||T12||Brittany Lincicome|
|2010||Lorena Ochoa||4||Yani Tseng|
|2011||Yani Tseng||2||Stacy Lewis|
|2012||Yani Tseng||3||Sun Young Yoo|
The majors and their beginnings
This week's Kraft Nabisco Championship kicks off the LPGA's first season with five major championships. Here's a look at the history of the fivesome:
|Tournament||First Year||First Major||Noteworthy|
|Kraft Nabisco||1972||1983||Same course for all of the tournaments|
|Wegmans LPGA||1955||1955||LPGA's second-oldest event|
|U.S. Women's Open||1946||1946||Started by WPGA, run by
LPGA 1950-52 and USGA in '53
|Ricoh Women's British||1976||2001||Became an official LPGA event in 1994|
|The Evian||2000||2013||In September, will become the LPGA's
41 years, one course
Mission Hills Country Club was a brand-new golf course in 1972 when the Dinah Shore Colgate Winners Circle debuted on the LPGA calendar. Now, 41 years later the course is considered one of the most famous on the LPGA. That's mainly because fans view it every year in the first major championship, at approximately the same time as the Masters Tournament, and also remember the watery par-5 18th hole and the drama it can present.
The course was designed by Desmond Muirhead in 1970 and the Mission Hills complex also includes courses designed by Arnold Palmer and Pete Dye. Muirhead also worked with Jack Nicklaus on his Muirfield Village Golf Club, site of the Memorial Tournament, in suburban Columbus, Ohio.
It didn't hurt the Kraft Nabisco that the following players won the first 10 tournaments: Jane Blalock, Mickey Wright, JoAnn Prentiss, Sandra Palmer, Judy Rankin, Kathy Whitworth, Sandra Post (twice), Donna Caponi and Nancy Lopez.
Mission Hills played approximately 6,300 yards in 1972 and can stretch to more than 6,600 yards for this week's event.
Amy Alcott, who originated the celebratory pond jump at the Kraft Nabisco, is in the field this week 25 years after her first jump in 1988. Alcott, 57, last competed in an LPGA event five years ago, missing the cut at the 2008 Kraft Nabisco. The World Golf Hall of Fame member first played in the tournament in 1975 before the majority of this week's field was born … Amanda Blumenherst will have one eye on Seattle and Houston this week. Husband Nate Freiman made the Oakland Athletics' major-league roster as a reserve rookie first baseman and the A's begin the season at the Mariners and Astros. … Tennis fans will think it's comeback week at the Kraft Nabisco. LPGA member Jessica Korda (daughter of Petr) and amateur Isabelle Lendl (daughter of Ivan) are in the field. … Chie Arimura might be a player to watch out for this week. The 25-year-old Japanese player has made two Kraft Nabisco appearances and finished ninth (2010) and T7 (2011). … New Zealand amateur Lydia Ko will be making her third LPGA start of the season this week. The 15-year-old has played in two previous major championships, both in 2012 – a T39 at the 2012 U.S. Women's Open and a T17 at the Ricoh Women's British Open. She won last summer's CN Canadian Women's Open.