RANCHO MIRAGE, CA - Thursday, there will be a new voice on the 10th tee at Mission Hills.
Sandra Palmer won here in 1975, that same year she also won the U.S. Women's Open Champion and earned LPGA Player of the Year. She is the 10th tee announcer for the opening round of the season's first major championship.
Although this is not unfamiliar territory for Palmer, having been the announcer on the 1st tee during the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, she is taking her job seriously. Doing her due diligence, Palmer sat studying the pronunciation guide in prep for the opening round.
“I was excited of course and a little nervous about some the names, but I’m working on it,” Palmer told LPGA.com on being asked to be the announcer. “It’s a real honor.
“To be able to see these players close-up, to meet quite a few of them. I’m a big admirer of their golf games it’s fantastic to see,” explained Palmer. “I can’t believe how far everyone hits the ball and there are no ugly swings. They’re very professional, good with the public and that’s very important.”
Wednesday, the LPGA.com team sat with Palmer during lunch at the Mission Hills' clubhouse where she entertained the group with stories of her time on Tour and sat in awe of how the Tour has evolved.
“I’m a little envious of all the money that you play for. I was leading money winner in 1975 and the total purse that year was $1.5 million, so Annika won more money in two years than I won in 30 years, so anyway I’m very happy for them,” said Palmer. “It is just great to see the way the game is growing, and it’s pretty exciting that we have the ANA Juniors, AJGA here. Oh, my goodness, it’s exciting, gives me goose bumps to think about these young kids and the future they have in golf.”
Listening to the stories and hearing the passion in Palmer’s voice as she talked about Mission Hills, how she continues to stay involved with a game she’s loved for so many years was just incredible. Palmer continues to give lessons at Mission Hills to both men and women; she calls it “food and gas money.”
Palmer will have a front row seat this week at Mission Hills as players tee off as they try to a master a challenging course, having been a member since 1975 she’s what one might consider an expert.
“We had a lot of rain here, earlier in the season and the rough is a lot higher than normal,” said Palmer. “The last few years we haven’t had much rough, of course, you see the scores very low. I’m for a major championship being very difficult, and it should be a premium on hitting the ball in the fairway and hitting the ball on the green. The greens are firm, starting to run fast. If the wind comes up, it’s a whole different thing.”