Any enthusiast of women’s golf—and I count myself among the most fanatic of fans—was positively jubilant to hear from LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan last week that the event formerly known as the Kraft Nabisco Championship isn’t going anywhere. Come spring 2015, it’s definitely returning to the Palm Springs Valley. Or more specifically, to Rancho Mirage and Mission Hills Country Club.
Hard to believe it will soon be six months since Kraft Nabisco ended its corporate ownership and sponsorship of the revered tournament—the first LPGA major of the year—which has been played at Mission Hills since 1972, when beloved American singer, talk show host, and Rancho Mirage resident Dinah Shore helped found the event, originally known as the Colgate Dinah Shore. The LPGA isn’t quite ready to announce a new title sponsor, but says talks are in the works with many an international conglomerate, any one of which could come aboard with a five-year agreement to lend its name. Whether a deal can be brokered in time for the 2015 kickoff is anybody’s guess, but what has been confirmed is that the LPGA is renewing its partnership with International Management Group, which operated the championship for Kraft in 2013 and 2014. The new name by which the reinvented tournament will be called cannot yet be revealed, but everyone agrees that, to paraphrase what the great William Shakespeare famously wrote, a rose by another name is still a rose…and that no matter the new moniker, the Rancho Mirage competition will be as sweet as it ever was, perhaps even more so!
“Having worked on this event for the past 19 years and seeing how well the LPGA has done under Commissioner Mike Whan’s leadership, I have never once doubted we would be staging the 44th event in 2015!” says Tournament Director Gabe Codding. “The history and tradition here at Mission Hills in wonderful Rancho Mirage only grows more important with each passing year. I’m excited for a new sponsor to align with the LPGA’s most historic event, at one of its most beloved venues, and carry on the 28+ year tradition of the Leap into Poppie’s Pond!!”