For the last 50 years, the Chevron Championship has been played at Mission Hills Country Club in California. However, following the conclusion of the event on Sunday, the tournament will be moving to a new venue in Houston, Texas.
Along with the change is also an increase in the tournament purse which, thanks to Chevron, has increased from $3.1 million to $5 million, something that Danielle Kang is pleased about after she revealed that despite making the cut at a recent tournament, she still didn ‘t break even.
Asked about the companies that have stepped up and backed the LPGA Tour, Kang stated that: “It’s refreshing, to be honest,” adding: “It’s because I’m lucky enough to not worry about some of the cash prizes and things like that I understand sometimes when people look at how much money we make they get thrown off about you’re making extra amounts and you’re making this much and you’re just complaining.
“Let’s kind of look at it from a broader perspective. I’m one player. How about the average tour players? I made $6,000 last week, made the cut; I didn’t break even last week. That’s me budgeting. I have to drive, rent a car, get a hotel room. Luckily enough for me I’m sponsored by BMW that provides for me the car. That saves like $500, $1000 etc.
“We have to think about all these things. So for us, when companies step up and give us an opportunity to make a living, make the tour better and broader and for players to compete and to be an actual job, it’s nice to see that.
With the event moving from Mission Hills, there are some traditions that will be lost from the tournament, one of them being the winner jumping into Poppie’s Pond following the conclusion of the event.
Players like Georgia Hall and Lexi Thompson were just some of the stars who led the tribute to the tradition, with Hall saying: “It’s sad to leave,” whilst Thompson, who picked up her only Major championship victory here in 2014, said: ” Jumping into Poppie’s Pond is one of my best memories. I think what’s so amazing is the history behind this tournament. Jumping into Poppie’s Pond’s, putting the robe on on the 18th green, just the tradition and history behind it. To be able to walk up the 18th green and see my name there, it’s pretty special.”
Although Kang respects the traditions and memories of the event, with the 29-year-old stating that she is “one of the lucky players that gets to say that I competed in the last Dinah Shore Tournament when it was held the final time at Mission Hills,” Kang understands that the show must go on.
“This place has lots of memories, a lot of traditions, and I understand that,” Kang explains. “But sometimes we’re so focused on the move right now that we have taken away the fact that the CEO, Michael Wirth, I think is his name, he upped our prize fund by 60% and is now a $5 million purse.
“I understand this is one of the most loved events, but we have to elevate this event. It is something — it’s got history, traditions, and it will be an integral part of the championship moving forward, but we need to have bigger prize monies and — prize money, and for the fact that he made it $5 million, I really thank him for that.
“He elevated it in literally a week. It’s instant. We have courtesy cars. At a Major championship, we’re competing for bigger prizes. It differentiates a Major versus other golf tournaments.
“Major championships, what makes it a Major? Bigger purse, better players, golf courses, difficulty, level of the golf course. US Open is US Open because of what it is. We play amazing golf tracks. Same thing and KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the Open, British Opens. We have to think about why this tournament is so special. Traditions are tradition, but for me, like there is nothing permanent than change.”