How will Dinah Shore’s legacy continue in Texas at the Chevron Championship and will the winner jump? Here’s what’s planned
Every time Pat Bradley walked past the statue of Dinah Shore next to 18th green at the Mission Hills Country Club, she climbed up the little base, put her hand on Dean’s shoulder, and chatted. A lot of time desert sun Golf writer Larry Bohannan recalled the scene as he pondered the question: How should Shore’s legacy continue in Texas?
Bradley, like many LPGA greats, was friends with Shore. The Hollywood superstar had such a huge impact on tour in the 1970s and 80s that they inducted her into the LPGA Hall of Fame as the only non-playing member.
But as the 52nd Chevron Championship, still known to many as “Dinah”, leaves the Dinah Shore Tournament Course and heads to The Woodlands near Houston this year (April 20-23), it’s natural to wonder how Shore will fit in. into her.
“You can’t create it,” Bohannan said of Bradley’s ritual, “it has to be something organic.”
Shore died in 1994, before nine of the top ten players in the world were even born. Jane Blalock, the first champion of the 1972 tournament, said Shore was comparable in popularity and scope to the modern-day Oprah.
Another burning question, with only three events left before Chevron this year: Will the champion jump, the most significant tradition (one might argue, the only noteworthy tradition of the LPGA) continue?
This was announced by the organizers of the tournament. golf week there is no expectation of a player jumping into the lake on the 18th of next month at the Nicklaus pitch at the club in Carlton Woods, but if the mood is up, the championship team will make sure it’s safe.
The section of the lake on the 18th green is dredged and netted to make sure it is deep enough for the player, her caddies and family to take a dip. A traditional bathrobe and slippers will also be at the ready if needed.
“Whoever wins this year should step in and keep going,” said Brittany Lincicom, two-time Mission Hills champion.
View of the 18th hole at Jack Nicklaus’ signature golf course in Carlton Woods. (courtesy of the Carlton Woods Club)
The hospitality area around Field 18 at Nicklaus Field in Carlton Woods will be named “Dinah’s Place” and Shore’s family has been invited to visit.
Shore’s name will also live on through the generous Chevron Dinah Shore Scholarships for high school students who are in college but don’t play college golf. Applicants must have a passion for women’s golf and a desire to contribute to the development of this game.
There will again be a Dinner of Champions with Thomas Keller, Chef and Owner of the French Laundromat, who will create a special menu in honor of 2022 Champion Jennfir Kupcho. The tournament will also bring back the Junior Legacy Pro-Am, designed to connect the game’s legends with bright young stars.
The Wall of Champions will for now be a temporary structure that will celebrate 51 years of history that took place in Mission Hills.
Sandra Palmer, an honorary member of Mission Hills who won 19 LPGA titles, including the Colgate Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle before it became a major, believes the championship needs to find a new identity in her native Texas.
At last year’s Chevron event, there was talk of LPGA legends hosting an event in the Coachella Valley this spring. There was even a press conference about it on the Sunday morning before Kupcho’s victory.
Two weeks later, the PGA Tour champions announced that the new Galleri Classic would take place March 24-26 at Mission Hills. Fred Mapars, Steve Stricker, Ernie Els, Bernhard Langer and David Duvall are among those who have dedicated themselves to work in this area.
So far, nothing has been announced in the area for older women.
Jin Yong Ko, caddy David Brooker, and agent Soo Jin Choi jump into Poppy Pond near 18th Lawn at Mission Hills Country Club after ANA Inspiration on the Dinah Shore 2019 in Rancho Mirage, California (Photo: Matthew Stockman/ Getty Images)
Patty Sheehan, who won at Mission Hills in 1996 and now lives there part-time for the 14th tee at Dean Shore, volunteered at the Galleri Classic. She was offered three options: a walking scorer, a job at a shooting range, help in a caddy’s tent.
Sheehan, who hasn’t yet decided what job she’ll take on, said the green is hard and fast at the Dinah Shore tournament circuit, but the challenge hasn’t set in yet. They added a couple of new T-shirts and trimmed the eucalyptus trees to make it look more open.
“They’re trying to clean up Poppy’s pond,” she said, “in case any of them try to jump.”
Sheehan said she is trying to “walk the positive path” in regards to how things have turned out.
Green 18 at Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course in Carlton Woods (Courtesy of The Club at Carlton Woods)
Judy Rankin, who, like Palmer and Blalock, won Dinah before she went big, does the same. Rankin has been part of LPGA’s deep history at Mission for five decades, right up to last year’s final blow at the broadcast booth. She, too, would like Chevron to start its own story in her home state of Texas, noting that it’s probably right not to see Dinah this year, but one should never forget her.
“I think it’s part of graceful old age,” she said of adapting to change. “Rejoice that you have it, celebrate the rare occasion, and let the new be new.”