First Major of Year Returns to Rancho Mirage
After last year’s postponement, the 2021 ANA Inspiration is back to being Golf’s First Major Tournament of the year with play resuming April 1 – 4. The world’s best women golfers tee up for the annual event as it celebrates its 50th Anniversary on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage.
Hitting the links
Defending champion Mirim Lee is slated to return for this historic Major, which has had 38 different champions during its 49-year history. Lee claimed her first Major title last year after the South Korean won a dramatic three-way play-off last September with Nelly Korda and Brooke Henderson.
The four-time LPGA winner says, “I can’t wait to return to Rancho Mirage as the defending champion. Usually you have to wait 12 months to get to defend a title so it’s pretty unusual we will be back there so soon.”
Korda and Henderson had held the lead over the course of the final day of play in 2020 until Lee calmly sank a five-foot putt for birdie. “For me personally, I think it will be wonderful to be back there as soon as possible and have the chance to relive all the happy memories and feelings of winning there last year,” said Lee.
With health and safety in mind during the pandemic, this anniversary year will, like last year, be played without spectators.
“I am very sad that all the amazing fans still won’t be able to return this year,” said Lee, “but it is a very understandable and sensible decision to make when we are in a global pandemic. We are all very grateful to ANA, the LPGA, IMG, Mission Hills and Rancho Mirage and all the partners for working so hard for us to make it possible for us to play the year’s first Major as scheduled.”
With no onsite hospitality possible this year, tournament organizers have taken this unique opportunity to play the famous 18th island green surrounded by the famous Poppie’s Pond in its purest state. The world’s best golfers will be approaching the 18th green just as the competitors would have encountered it in its inaugural edition in 1972, clear of any hospitality units.
This year’s champion is still expected to make a splash, following in the tradition of Amy Alcott, the first to jump into Poppie’s Pond after her victory in 1988.
Applications are being accepted for more than 600 volunteers, but no tickets are available for spectators. The tournament will be broadcast on Golf Channel and Sky Sports. Additionally, fans can follow along with enhanced content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the official website. Browse the official program online and sign up to receive newsletter updates.