40 invitation-only positions, filled by active LPGA Tour Hall of Famers and winners of LPGA tournaments during the 1999-2001 seasons, compete in the limited field event. This weeks event boasts a $750,000 purse with $122,000 going to the winner and $75,500 to the runner-up.
Karrie Webb, winner of 25 titles on the LPGA Tour, defends this weeks title against a powerhouse field that includes six Hall of Famers - Juli Inkster, Nancy Lopez, Betsy King, Beth Daniel, JoAnne Carner and Amy Alcott.
Webb captured the title last year in a single-hole sudden-death playoff against Dottie Pepper. This title was one of seven the Queenslander took home in the 2000 season, making her the first player since Beth Daniel (1990) to do so.
Even though Webb finished runner-up three times in years past (1996, 1998-99), her job this week will not be easy. She has some stiff competition in Annika Sorenstam, and Se Ri Pak, both of whom rank higher than her in earnings this season.
The 26-year-old Aussie hasnt won an event since June when she captured her second Major title of the year (U.S. Womens Open, McDonalds LPGA Championship).
Sorenstam, however, has taken home six titles this year ' including the first major of the season (Welchs/Circle K Championship, Standard Register PING, Nabisco Championship, The Office Depot, Chick-fil-A Charity Championship and the Bank of Montreal Canadian Womens Open).
And Pak has four wins of her own this season ' the last of which was a major. (YourLife Vitamins LPGA Classic, Longs Drugs Challenge, Jamie Farr Kroger Classic, Weetabix Womens British Open). This week is already special for Se Ri. She celebrates her 24th birthday on Friday.
First time winners Tina Fischer, Kate golden, Catriona Matthew, Gloria Park, Wendy Dooland and Heather Daly-Donofrio will tee it up for the first time at this event. Fischer qualified just days ago after winning the Asahi Ryokuken International by one stroke over Tracy Hanson and Emilee Klein.
The 72-hole stroke play three-day event gets underway on Friday. The Crossings Course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and built in 1992. Competitors will play to par 72 on the 6,231-yard course primarily comprised of Bermuda grass and Rye overseed. Greens, which average 7,500 sq. feet in size, are heavily undulated ' some feature severe slopes that will make par difficult on many holes. The signature hole on this course is the 18th. Locals refer to this long uphill par-4 as the Terminator.