The Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major event of 2007, tees off this Thursday at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. The defending champion is Karrie Webb, who bested Lorena Ochoa on the first playoff hole. Webb’s memorable hole-out from the fairway on the 72nd hole to get into the playoff was probably the Shot Of The Year (Pak fans, don’t kill me!). The first three rounds will be televised on ESPN2 with the final round on CBS.
All 35 previous KNC events (including the ones with Dinah Shore or Colgate’s names on them) were played at Mission Hills, so you’ve probably seen this course a time or two before. It plays to par-72 and 6673 yards. The par-5 18th is the signature hole, with an island green and that famous pond.
Befitting a major tournament, the field is as strong as you’d expect, but one important participant will be missing. Michelle Wie has still not recovered from her wrist injury and she announced her withdrawal last week. Wie finished tied for third last year only one shot out of the playoff. Like the other majors, the Kraft Nabisco has its own qualification criteria. Here is the entire field with their qualifying notations.
Last week I snubbed Lorena Ochoa in my picks for the first time since the British Open last August. It figures she would get back at me in the way she knows best. I won’t be making that mistake again anytime soon – I’m picking Lorena to win her first major this week. Annika Sorenstam and Jeong Jang are my CYAs. Stats: Winners 0-4, Top Tens 6-12.
FYI - Starting Saturday morning, I will be vacationing with my family for a week in a location which (unfortunately) has no internet access. Unless I get lucky and find an unsecure wireless network to hitch a ride on. When I return, I'll recap the KNC for posterity's sake. In the meantime, enjoy the tournament and get your online updates from lpga.com.