LPGA Tour's first major of year has another new name
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) When Judy Rankin won at Mission Hills in 1976, the tournament now called the ANA Inspiration was the Colgate-Dinah Shore Winner's Circle.
The event that started in 1972 and became a major in 1983, has had five other names - the Colgate-Dinah Shore (1981), Nabisco Dinah Shore Invitational (1982), Nabisco Dinah Shore (1983-99), Nabisco Championship (2000-01) and Kraft Nabisco Championship (2002-14).
As Golf Channel's lead LPGA Tour analyst, Rankin knows it won't be easy to always get the name right on the tournament broadcasts.
''There are some people who have taken bets on how many times we make that mistake,'' Rankin said. ''We are hoping we don't make that mistake, but our fall back is always The Dinah.''
Three-time tournament winner Annika Sorenstam also is working for Golf Channel.
''I finally got over The Dinah when it was Kraft,'' Sorenstam said. ''Who knows how long this will take?''
All Nippon Airways has a five-deal deal as the title sponsor. The ANA Inspiration is based on the company's ''Inspiration of Japan'' slogan.
''We started playing with variations of Inspiration - Desert Inspiration, Inspiration of the Desert,'' LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan said. ''We went through a lot of different what ifs. At the end of the day, I'm a big fan of the shorter the better, and so were they.''
The event also has a color transformation, from Kraft Nabisco's red to ANA's blue.
''When I first drove up, I was shocked about the blue tents and the blue everywhere,'' said Stacy Lewis, the 2011 winner. ''I was afraid everybody would be calling it the old names and everything, but as soon as I came on property this was the ANA Inspiration.''
SOLHEIM CUP: Juli Inkster is sticking with her plan to complete the U.S. Solheim Cup team with the 11th and 12th players in the points race, effectively giving up her captain's picks.
''It's kind of a wimpy way out because then I don't have to make anybody mad or anything,'' Inkster said. ''I just take the 12 and I go play. ... The toughest part is telling somebody they're not on the team. I hate doing that. So, that's why if you just give me 12, you tell me those 12 right there are my team, I'd be all right. I'm good with that. ...
''They've had over two years to make the team. If they're not in the top 12, then it's really not my fault. They've had that chance.''
Europe's Carin Koch has four captain's picks for the Sept. 18-20 matches in Germany.
''I do like to be able to shape the team, but I don't look forward to the day where I have to actually pick the team and tell the people,'' Koch said. ''As fun as it is to tell the people that are on the team, it's heartbreaking to tell the people that didn't make it. I've been on both sides myself, having captains tell me both things, and it's not fun.
''Having players play on two tours and being very split in that way, it's important that we do get some picks that we can make the team the team we really want and need.''
Europe has won the last two matches in the biennial event.
''We are definitely coming in as the underdogs,'' Inkster said. ''We've lost the last two, we're playing on their home soil.''
RANKING SCENARIOS: Second-ranked Inbee Park is the only player this week with a chance to replace Lydia Ko at No. 1 in the world.
Park would go to No. 1 with a victory if Ko finishes in a five-way tie for second or finishes third or worse. If Park finishes alone in second, she would jump up if Ko finishes 33rd - not counting ties - or worse.
Park, the 2013 winner, is fighting a right wrist injury.
''There's still a little bit of inflammation,'' Park said. ''I've got to give it a week of rest. Obviously, I can't do that this week.''
After winning in Singapore and finishing second in a Ladies European Tour event in China, the South Korean player skipped the Phoenix event and was fifth last week at Carlsbad.
TEE TIMES: Top-ranked Lydia Ko is paired with defending champion Lexi Thompson in the first two rounds. They will open Thursday at 8 a.m. on the 10th tee.
Michelle Wie and Yani Tseng will start on No. 10 at 7:52 a.m.
In the afternoon session, second-ranked Inbee Park and Cristie Kerr, the Kia Classic winner Sunday, will start on No. 1 at 1:13 p.m., and No. 3 Stacy Lewis and Jessica Korda are going off the first tee at 1:05 p.m.
AMATEUR SHOW: Haley Moore won the ANA Inspiration Champions Junior Challenge on Monday to earn the final spot in the 115-player field.
The 16-year-old Moore, from Escondido, shot a 5-under 67 on Mission Hills' Arnold Palmer Course for a four-stroke victory. She's one of six amateurs in the field.
Duke's Celine Boutier, the 21-year-old French player who tops the world amateur rankings, also is playing along with 16-year-old Nelly Korda, the sister of LPGA Tour player Jessica Korda; 16-year-old Andrea Lee, the reigning Rolex Junior Player of the Year; 16-year-old Mika Liu; and 18-year-old Bethany Wu. U.S. Amateur champion Kristen Gillman turned down a spot.
NEW THREADS: ANA teamed with Japanese towel-maker Imabari to redesign and upgrade the white bathrobe given to the winner after the traditional victory leap into Poppie's Pond.
The new robe - valued at about $1,000 - is being kept in a glass case.
On Tuesday, LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan and defending champion Lexi Thompson assisted ANA executives in breaking open a barrel of sake, a symbol of opening to harmony and good fortune.