Every time Pat Bradley walked by the statue of Dinah Shore next to the 18th green at Mission Hills Country Club, she’d climb up on the little base and put her hand on Dinah’s arm and have a chat. Longtime Desert Sun golf writer Larry Bohannan recalled the scene as he considered the question: How should Shore’s legacy continue in Texas?
Bradley, like so many LPGA greats, was friends with Shore. The Hollywood superstar made such a tremendous impact on the tour in the 1970s and 80s that they put her in the LPGA Hall of Fame as the only non-playing member.
But as the 52nd Chevron Championship, still known by many as “The 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.
“You can’t create that,” said Bohannan of Bradley’s ritual, “that has to be something that’s organic.”
Shore died in 1994, before nine of the top 10 players in the world were even born. Jane Blalock, the tournament’s first champion in 1972, said Shore could be compared to a modern-day Oprah in terms of her popularity and reach.
Another burning question with only three events remaining before this year’s Chevron: Will the champion’s leap, the most significant tradition (one might argue the LPGA’s only noteworthy tradition), carry on?
Tournament organizers told Golfweek there’s no expectation that a player will jump into the lake on the 18th next month at the Nicklaus Course at The Club at Carlton Woods, but should the mood strike, the championship team is making sure it will be safe.
An area of the lake at the 18th green is being dredged and netted to make sure it’s deep enough for a player and her caddie and family to take the plunge. The traditional robe and slippers will also be on standby, if needed.
“Whoever wins this year needs to jump in and keep it going,” said Brittany Lincicome, a two-time champion at Mission Hills.
The hospitality area around the 18th green at the Nicklaus course at Carlton Woods will be named “Dinah’s Place” and Shore’s family has been invited to attend.
Shore’s name will also live on in the generosity of the Chevron Dinah Shore Scholarships, given to high school seniors who are pursuing a college education but not playing collegiate golf. Nominees must have a passion for women’s…
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