The elimination of the longtime ANA is a huge disservice to professional women’s golf.
It was the spring of 1988. Amy Alcott was on the 18th green at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage, California, with 3 putts to win her second career Nabisco Dinah Shore. After Alcott and Caddy Bill Kurre intervened from a few inches, they became trendsetters after their mutual hug.
On the spur of the moment, Amy Alcott and Kurre jumped into what is now known as Poppie’s Pond.
Three years later, Alcott repeated her big win at Mission Hills and jumped her caddy into the pond again. This time around, Dinah Shore, the Hollywood icon who founded the tournament to promote the game of golf for women, took the plunge with Amy. It’s an image carved into the stone tablet of LPGA memories.
It has been a tradition for every winner of the Dinah Shore, now ANA, since 1994.
The only other professional golf tournament that has been played in one location longer than this LPGA is the Masters. That’s how big this tournament is. Or should we now say how big this tournament was?
Unfortunately, the new top management of the LPGA turns the “is” into a “what”, because with the 2022 edition of the ANA, the end of the line for the first major of the year. And frankly, this is one of the most insulting things the LPGA could do to their tour and professional women’s golf.
Forget about traditions. Forget the story. Forget status and celebrations. Forget Dinah’s legacy of fighting for equal pay and equal playing fields for women in work and sports. Forget the one-of-a-kind that splashes at Poppie’s after winning. Forget what this tournament is about.
The new leader of the LPGA Tour, Mollie Marcoux Samaan, is throwing all of this away for a major check and TV coverage and at the same time destroys her stone tablet legacy. And that makes me sick.
Now that I’m the general manager of a media company myself, I feel the need to grow. The LPGA has remained relatively stagnant in viewership, attendance and news for many years.
Now it is my personal work goal to increase sales and profitability for my customers, whose companies also need this boost, by using the right products and solutions. At the same time, I find the right products to help our customers that also help the owners and investors of my company.
Sometimes you just have to say, “Damn it, I know we need a big refresher here. Despite calling for this to be eliminated, we will work to maintain the brand while growing for the future. Work smarter and grow better to get where we need to be. “
I was faced with the possibility of tearing down a long-established radio brand in my cluster that was very old. We checked all of the options and found that the brand is still highly regarded as a name but the product is delivered terribly. Destroying this heritage would be a disservice to the community we serve. Instead, we completely retrofitted this station, redesigned it and reset the future. How has the performance been since then? This year alone, sales of this brand have grown by almost 35%. The listeners returned because we brought it back with a proud, strong presence and a much better product.
The thing about the ANA, or Dinah Shore if you will, is that it was not and is not life sustaining. Yes, it may have had to be postponed or timed, but throwing the baby out with the water from Poppie’s Pond? No, not at all and for nothing more than instant greed.
ANA wanted to retire after financial challenges caused by the international travel slowdown from the pandemic. Okay, and I get it. Couldn’t the future Texas event sponsor and host of the 2022 edition hold this tournament in California?
Not an insult to a lot of my friends who live in the Lone Star State (I have a good number of them), but recent actions against the health and choice of women don’t really fit with Dinah’s legacy or come up with this great look organize like the best PR move either.
The Masters and Augusta National have been an integral part of the PGA longer than the ANA, but have also endured and survived their own controversies than anything else in the history of the Mission Hills hosts. But The Masters was not moved. We regard the Masters with the awe they deserve. Why doesn’t that also apply to the second longest professional golf tournament at the same location?
That’s because Mollie Marcoux Samaan is out of sight. Yes, a big six year check is nice, but it won’t be in Rancho Mirage, there won’t be the iconic Pond Festival, and it won’t be about Dinah Shore’s legacy and work for equality and growth.
That major will now be just a big check and a cheap replacement for one of the great traditions of golf. So I congratulate Mollie, because with the stroke of a pen the new boss of the LPGA Tour simply tore out his own heart.
Cover photo via Instagram
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