LPGA stars want to keep Kraft identity despite sponsor loss

By Randall MellApril 1, 2014, 11:21 pm

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Karrie Webb doesn’t just want to see the year’s first major continue at Mission Hills Country Club after Kraft Nabisco’s contract expires with Sunday’s conclusion of the event. She wants to see Dinah Shore’s name go back on it.

“I think Dinah Shore's name should come back onto the event just to keep that identity,” said Webb, who won this championship in 2006 and 2000. “Whoever comes on board as a sponsor, it shouldn't just be the sponsor's name . . . . Even when we took Dinah's name off the event, people knew what event it was, because they'd been a part of it for so long.

“I just feel like, to keep the identity of this event, when people tune in to watch, they're going to know, `That's the Dinah Shore, the LPGA's first major of the year.’ That's what I'd really like to see for 2015 and beyond.”

The Kraft Nabisco Championship got its start as the Colgate-Dinah Shore in 1972. Shore, an actress and singer, helped found the event and hosted it until her death in 1994. Her name remained on the event until 2000. Nabisco came aboard as title sponsor in 1982. It became the Kraft Nabisco in 2002.

While LPGA commissioner Mike Whan is more than optimistic that the event will return to Mission Hills in 2015 and beyond, there will be uncertainty until a new title sponsor is secured.

Players see the event’s long history as vital to the LPGA’s identity. From Shore’s legacy, to the Walk of Fame along the 18th green, to the victor’s leap into Poppie’s Pond and all the memorable winning and losing shots at the 18th, Mission Hills Country Club’s history and traditions mean a lot to today’s players.

“We need to stay here,” said Stacy Lewis, who won the Kraft Nabisco in 2011.

The LPGA will take over control of the event at week’s end. No announcements about the future of the championship will likely be made this week, but Whan is confident its future here will be secured.

“I think a lot of the older players, like Juli [Inkster], they know this tournament as the Dinah, where players my age, we know this as the Kraft,” Lewis said. “For me, it's going to be hard to not call it the Kraft anymore, because that's what Kraft Nabisco has built here. It's Kraft, that's what it is.  Everybody knows what course it's at, where it is. We need to hopefully get another sponsor, somebody onboard, that wants to create a tradition like that again going forward.”

Getty Images

Rory: Phil said RC task force just copied Europe

By Randall MellFebruary 21, 2018, 7:21 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am two weeks ago, Rory McIlroy quizzed Phil Mickelson about what the Americans got out of the U.S. Ryder Cup task force’s overhaul.

McIlroy and Mickelson were paired together at Pebble Beach.

“Basically, all they are doing is copying what the Europeans have done,” McIlroy said.  “That's what he said.”

The Europeans claimed their sixth of seven Ryder Cups with their victory at Gleneagles in 2014. That brought about a sea change in the way the United States approached the Ryder Cup. Mickelson called out the tactics in Gleneagles of captain Tom Watson, who was outmaneuvered by European captain Paul McGinley.

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

The Americans defeated Europe at Hazeltine two years ago with that new European model.

“He said the first thing they did in that task force was Phil played a video, a 12-minute video of Paul McGinley to all of them,” McIlroy said. “So, they are copying what we do, and it's working for them. It's more cohesive, and the team and the core of that team are more in control of what they are doing, instead of the PGA of America recruiting and someone telling them what to do.”

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 21, 2018, 7:00 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Getty Images

Woods happy to help Furyk at Ryder Cup

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:58 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods didn't hesitate when Jim Furyk asked him to become a vice captain at the upcoming Ryder Cup.

Woods said Wednesday that Furyk asked he and Steve Stricker “a while ago” whether they were interested in being assistants in Paris as the Americans try to win a Ryder Cup on foreign soil for the first time in 25 years.

“He’s one of my best friends,” Woods said of Furyk, “and whatever he wants, whatever he needs, I’m there to help him. We’re worked well the last couple of years in the cups together.”

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Though Woods has said that he wants to be a playing vice captain, he has been an assistant at each of the past two international team competitions.

Furyk, Woods and Stricker were all assistants at Hazeltine, where the U.S. won in a rout.

“Jim is very detailed, very smart, very analytical, and he’s just a fantastic leader,” Woods said. “For him to ask Stricks and I together, it will be special for both of us.”

Getty Images

Woods to hit '4 or 5' drivers each day at Honda

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:25 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Those hoping Tiger Woods will wield the driver early and often this week at PGA National likely will be disappointed.

Depending on wind direction, he said he will only hit “four or five” drivers each round.

During Wednesday’s pro-am, Woods hit driver on six holes. He found two fairways with the big stick and found the right rough four times, though a few of those misses were only a few yards off the fairway.

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

In two starts this year, Woods has struggled mightily with every club off the tee, but driver has been especially troublesome. He has found only 36 percent of the fairways so far (30 of 84).

The Champion Course here is a par 70, with water and bunkers often lining the fairways. Putting the ball in play off the tee will be at a premium, and so Woods opted for a low, penetrating 2-iron six times in the pro-am.

Woods said he did not make any equipment changes following the missed cut at Riviera.