Why Do LPGA Major Winners Jump in Lake?

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The winner of the LPGA’s ANA Inspiration (formerly known as the Kraft Nabisco Championship) always jumps into the water by the 18th hole after wrapping up the win. Why? Because it’s fun!

And because it’s a long-running tradition at the LPGA major, played on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. That final green is surrounded by water.

Key Takeaways

  • The first golfer who made the Champion’s Leap was Amy Alcott in 1988. Alcott jumped again in 1991.
  • It wasn’t until Donna Andrews won the 1994 ANA Inspiration that someone other than Alcott jumped, and every winner since then has gone in the water.

The First Jump

Amy Alcott was the first golfer to take the plunge, an act that has come to be known as the “Champion’s Leap.” The collective group of golfers who’ve made that jump are known as the “Ladies of the Lake.”


Alcott won the ANA Inspiration — then called the Nabisco Dinah Shore — for the second time in 1988, and that’s the year she became the first golfer to make the jump into the greenside water. Alcott took a running leap, jumping off the bank and into the pond (named Poppie’s Pond) next to the final hole.

Alcott, who eventually won five majors and joined the World Golf Hall of Fame, hadn’t won in 19 months at the time of her 1988 ANA Inspiration victory. She not only broke a long winless period, but by winning that even she became, at that time, just the third LPGA golfer to cross the $2 million career earnings mark.

“It was just a moment of pure excitement,” Alcott told the Los Angeles Times in 2011. “That’s part of my personality. I said, ‘What the hell.’ ”

Didn’t Quite Stick


The celebratory leap didn’t immediately catch on, however. The next two winners, Juli Inkster (1989) and Betsy King (1990), didn’t jump. But in 1991, Alcott won again (her third victory in this tournament), and this time she convinced tournament host Dinah Shore to make the jump with her.

Dottie Pepper won the next year, but in a playoff that ended on the 10th hole, so she didn’t make the leap. And Helen Alfredsson didn’t jump in 1993. It wasn’t until 1994 that someone other than Alcott took the plunge, and after Donna Andrews did it that year — in honor of Dinah Shore, who passed away earlier in the year — the Champion’s Leap was established.

The Champion’s Leap

And every ANA Inspiration winner since then has gotten wet, although not all have actually jumped. When Pat Hurst won in 1998, she only waded into the water because she can’t swim. And Annika Sorenstam, in 2002, only waded into the water because she was holding hands with the young daughter of her caddie, who was a little intimidated by the water.

The winning golfer today always takes others into the water with her — caddies, friends, family — and when she emerges, the champ is wrapped in a fluffy white robe. That robe has become the LPGA’s version of the Masters’ Green Jacket.


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