There are a preponderance of people who would give up their preferred putter to jump—or be otherwise playfully persuaded—into Poppie’s Pond next to the 18th green at the Mission Hills Country Club. As the grand gesture to celebrate winning the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship held annually in Rancho Mirage, this tradition ranks right up there with sports teams spraying each other with champagne! I was extremely excited to be present to watch this year’s plunge.
When Amy Alcott first took the spontaneous swim in 1988, few would have believed that it would become one of the most anticipated leaps on the ladies’ golf circuit. But true to form, the winner of the 2012 event, Sun Young Yoo of Seoul, South Korea—along with her caddy Adam Woodward—jumped into the frigid waters to celebrate her win over I.K. Kim (who incidentally would have won the event if she hadn’t missed sinking a two-foot putt).
To prevent injuries and illnesses, the “Poppie’s Pond” part of the lake that surrounds the 18th green has been dug out, lined with concrete, and is now filtered—but NOT heated, as Yoo was reminded when she landed in the frigid water. “I didn’t know it was going to be that cold,” she exclaimed as she emerged, quickly taking the robe offered to her as a warm-up.
The Kraft Nabisco Championship ended on its usual high note with a major splash, and visitors and locals from the Palm Springs Valley had a blast. I can’t wait to do it all again next year. www.kncgolf.com