sor, but it does have a future,
commissioner Mike Whan said
during the event held April 3-6.
“We’re coming back, and if
we come back without a sponsor, we’ll come back without a
sponsor. We’ll fund this one,”
Whan said during the LPGA’s
first major championship at Mission
Hills CC in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
“In my commissioner tenure I don’t
want to lose this major. This one is
not going away.”
Kraft Nabisco has ended its spon-
sorship of the tournament with
which it has been associated since
1982, a year before it became a major
championship. But the likelihood
that the tournament will proceed without a title sponsor seems remote.
“If I had one tournament to go try to
sell, I’d sure like to try to sell that one,”
Golf Channel analyst Judy Rankin said.
Even Whan said it was “75-25 we’re
sitting here next year with a sponsor,”
and noted that three interested parties
were in attendance last week.
Kia Motors America reportedly
was among them, and is said to have a
keen interest in replacing Kraft Nabisco. The automobile company already
has a strong presence on the LPGA,
including its sponsorship of the Kia
Classic. Kia is the “official automotive
partner of the LPGA” and provided
the courtesy cars for the players at
the Kraft Nabisco, and is involved
with its Kia Performance Awards,
presented annually. Moreover, the
company also has an endorsement
deal with Michelle Wie.
What is known now is that the tournament will continue at the same venue.
“At the end of the day, all anyone
here needs to know is that we’re coming back,” Whan said. “Gabe [Codding,
tournament director] and his team
aren’t going anywhere. The point is, I
want to be here. This one is not going
away.” —John Strege
Drive, Chip and Putt
�� On a cool, overcast Sunday morning, behind the hedges that hide
Augusta National GC from curious
eyes, the future of golf couldn’t
have looked brighter. Proudly watched
by family, friends and just plain golf
fans, 88 national finalists—44 boys and
44 girls in four age divisions—
competed in the first Drive, Chip and
The importance of the event was
registered by the quality of the audience. USGA president Tom O’ Toole,
PGA of America president Ted Bishop
and ANGC chairman Billy Payne—the
driving forces behind the competition—were on hand at 7: 30 a.m. to
watch what ANGC member Rob
Johnston called “a truly historic day
for Augusta National Golf Club.” Many
green jackets dotted the crowd, including Condoleezza Rice, the former
Secretary of State who became one of
the first two female ANGC members.
01Lexi Thompson wins Kraft Nabisco Championship with
aggressive drives, improved putting.
If she doesn’t make a few more jumps into
Poppie’s Pond, call us all wet.
02 Michelle Wie (shown) encour- aged by her runner-up finish at
the LPGA’s first major of 2014.
She should be. She could have caved to
Thompson’s early birdies (or her own spotty
putting), but she didn’t. Big step.
03 Aussie Matt Jones’ back-to-back bombs (46-foot putt, 42-yard
chip) win Shell Houston Open.
It’ll be interesting to see how Matt Kuchar
bounces back from those body blows—and
the one he inflicted on himself.
04 Tiger Woods has microsurgery on his back; will miss Masters
and an undetermined amount of 2014.
Let’s hope his recovery is shorter than the
line of docs who came out of the woodwork
hoping to be interviewed on the topic.
05 Augusta National’s Drive, Chip and Putt event earns high marks.
A for effort. A for execution. A for entertainment value. Masters Week just got better.
06 Golf Channel’s three-part documentary “Arnie” debuts
on Masters Sunday.
You can’t tell the King’s story in just one
07 Some pros say Twitter functions as their chief source of news.
At least they didn’t say it was the Daily Show.
08 Royal County Down officially awarded the 2015 Irish Open.
And the British Open moves a little closer to a
return to Northern Ireland.
09 You Tube video captures Jimmy Fallon holing out bunker
shot at Bayonne (N. J.) GC.
Not surprising that his best work comes in
front of a camera.
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Pebble Beach GL ˘ If you c
Cody Greenwaldt: Some course in the Himalayas with the
Dalai Lama, Bill Murray and John Daly
John Alexanian: I wish I could have played Pebble Beach
with my dad in 1978—when he almost drove his cart off the cliff
on No. 8—and it cost less than $50!
event since 1982.
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