March 26, 2019
The 2019 ANA Inspiration is shaping up to be one of the strongest to date, with the 48th edition of the tournament set to include every player inside the top 25 of the Rolex Rankings at Mission Hills Country Club, April 4 – 7.
2018 champion Pernilla Lindberg, who claimed her first major victory in a dramatic play-off, will have her work cut out as she defends her title against a stellar field that includes no fewer than the world’s top 25, ten former world no. 1 players, 28 major champions and 11 past champions.
The race to win golf’s first major of the year and make the famous leap into Poppie’s Pond has never been tighter, with current world no.1 Sung Hyun Park and world no. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn leading the charge of players looking to etch their names in Dinah Shore history books.
Both two-time major winners already, Park and Jutanugarn have exchanged the number one spot on the Rolex Rankings on several occasions since last summer and head to Mission Hills Country Club in form, with Park recently winning back-to-back titles on the LPGA and TLPGA.
Jutanugarn may not have added the ANA Inspiration to her major haul yet but having won low amateur honors in the desert in 2011 and 2012, as well as securing three top 10 finishes in the last three years, she heads to the season’s opening major with confidence.
In search of her first ANA Inspiration title, Sung Hyun Park said: “I really enjoy visiting Rancho Mirage and I love how the course suits my eye. It is always nice to return somewhere that you have played well and my second round last year was one of my best ever in a major. The way it all finished was a tough learning curve for me but one I’ve bounced back from and I’ll be doing everything I can to play a little better over the weekend this time around.”
Joining them, in an elite group of players to hold a major title and the top spot in the Rolex Rankings is LPGA Tour Hall of Famer and seven-time major champion Inbee Park, Korea’s So Yeon Ryu, the youngest ever World No. 1, Lydia Ko and China’s first-ever world no. 1 and major winner, Shanshan Feng.
Australian 22 year-old Minjee Lee is the highest ranked player (3) to have not won a major with last week’s winner Jin-Young Ko (5) and American 20-year-old Nelly Korda (6), who currently leads the U.S Solheim Cup points standings, making up a group of players looking to make a major breakthrough.
Commenting on the strength of field, Mike Whan, LPGA Commissioner, said, “The ANA Inspiration is one of the most prestigious events in ALL of golf. Young girls from all over the world watch, and dream of a day, when they might jump into Poppie’s Pond. I simply do not know an LPGA star that doesn’t set her sights on the ANA Inspiration, and work tirelessly to compete amongst the best in the world. I hope our players, and our fans, will always remember Dinah Shore’s impact on this event — and understand why we name both the trophy, and the golf course in her honor.”
During the 47-year history, American players have dominated with 21 victories coming from the USA, five from Sweden, four from South Korea, two from Australia and one from France, Mexico, Taiwan and New Zealand.
In keeping with tournament tradition, past champions will be honored at milestone anniversaries of their victory with the below winners being celebrated at the champions dinner.
- 1979: Sandra Post (40 years)
- 1984 & 1989 : Juli Inkster (30 Years)
- 1992 & 1999 : Dottie Pepper (20 Years)
- 2009 & 2015: Brittany Lincicome (10 Years)