Christina Kim launched a scathing attack on the LPGA and Augusta National ahead of the final round of the LPGA’s maiden major for 2022 – the Chevron Championship at Rancho Mirage in California.
Jennifer Kupcho will take a six-shot lead into the final round at 16-under-par on the Mission Hills Country Club that at the end of today (Sunday) will mark the end of a 31-year association with the course.
The tournament was first staged in 1972, and then known as Dinah Shore. In 1983 it gained LPGA major championship status while from 2001 to 2014, it was held under either the Kraft and Nabisco Championship sponsorship banner before being renamed in 2015 as the ANA Inspiration. Chevron took over the title rights this year.
The event is famous for the winner each jumping joyfully into Poppie’s Pond, right alongside the 18th green, and then stepping out to be greeted by someone holding a white bathrobe.
However, from next year the tournament is moving from the Palm Springs area to Houston, Texas, and is believed to be a May date.
Therein lies part of the now 38-year-old Kim’s strong words, and remarks not only directed at the LPGA but also Augusta National.
“It’s very bittersweet. This tournament’s been very important to me over the years for a lot of reasons, and I’m really sad to be leaving,” the five-time winning Kim said in an interview with the local Desert Sun newspaper.
“I wish that there was more willingness from all parties including the people (making decisions) here to have found a way to make it work so that we could’ve stayed here.”
As well, what has hurt this maiden major TV ratings-wise is the staging of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur being held this same week, and Kim has not pulled any punches in singling out the green jackets at Augusta.
“Truth be told, I’m not gonna lie. I’m really upset with Augusta National”, added Kim. “Because there’s no reason why we couldn’t continue to have this tournament be the first major in professional golf.
“And I think it’s absolutely disgusting what they’re (Augusta National) doing and I have no problem saying that. It’s bull hockey what they’re doing.”
Kim also singled out Augusta’s practice also of allowing their female amateurs who competed this past week, just one practice round at Augusta but then have to qualify to play a competitive round on the fabled course.
“It barely qualifies as the bare minimum of allowing those girls one practice round and giving them a playoff to see who’s going to make the cut into the final round at that place,” she said also to the Desert Sun.
“I know there were attempts made to try and see if the date could change because Augusta was doing what Augusta does,” she said. “But it did not work for the region here either, so unfortunately, it would be easy to say there’s no one to blame other than Augusta National, but that’s neither here nor there.
“Everyone could have worked … I’m sure everyone did everything they think that they could’ve done to keep the tournament here. But the reality is we’re not coming back.”
Kim has competed in 17 now Chevron Championships with a best finish of a T8th in 2004 though she missed the cut this year. Her best finish in a women’s major was a T3rd in the 2009 British Open.