Patty Tavatanakit’s life changed on April 4, 2021. With a short par putt on the 72nd hole of the Dinah Shore Course at Mission Hills Country Club, Tavatanakit clinched her first major title, winning The Chevron Championship and becoming the first rookie since 1984 to win the season’s first major. Her name now caps the Wall of Champions that lines the walk to Poppie’s Pond, a sight that Tavatanakit has already captured in her time in Rancho Mirage.
“Honored to have my name right there next to all the Hall of Famers and past champions. Proud to put my name there. I actually took a picture with it. Just a nice feeling,” said Tavatanakit. “I mean, makes me love this place even more regardless how I do this week.”
Beyond that breakthrough win, Tavatanakit’s 2021 season included nine more top-10 finishes en route to earning Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year honors. Despite missing the Amundi Evian Championship due to travel issues, she also captured the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award on the strength of her Chevron win and top 10s at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and the AIG Women’s Open.
Now in her return to Mission Hills, Tavatanakit is reveling in her first experience as a defending champion. She had the honor of collaborating with famed chef Thomas Keller on the menu for last night’s Champions Dinner, highlighted by short ribs and a dark chocolate dessert. Her smile adorns on-course signage. Media requests came in droves for some time with the champion.
So how does a 22-year-old follow up on the week of a lifetime? Her perspective is solid – time will tell what this year will bring. This week? It’s just one step in a journey.
“I think I everything was going really well last year, happened at the right time, at the right moment, and that's golf. It's just timing. That happened to be the week,” said Tavatanakit, who will open her title defense on Thursday at 1:19 p.m. playing alongside Danielle Kang. “So, I was really fortunate to grab that trophy on Sunday, but you can't really expect to do that, repeat that, because it's just life. You can't expect to do the same thing every single day because there is going to be this and that and not everything is going to be the same.”