ANA Inspiration: What you need to know

Published:

ANA Inspiration: From the bookies favorites to what the players say and how to watch, here's everything you need to know about the first major of the year

The first major of the year is here for the best female golfers in the world as 112 players head to California for the 48th edition of the ANA Inspiation.

The field, which includes the top 25 players in the Rolex Women's Rankings, will be competing for an increased prize fund of $3million on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course in Mission Hills. 

Last year, Pernilla Lindberg needed an extra day and eight additional holes to beat seven-time major winner Inbee Park to earn her maiden major at the ANA Inspiration. It was the first time in the 47-year history of the event a Monday finish was needed to crown the champion. 

Below, find out what you need to know, how to watch, what the players say about the course and who the favourites are this week. 

A week of history for the women's game: Elsewhere this week, the first inaugural Augusta National Women's Amateur takes place the week before the Masters, while 40 players from each of the European Challenge Tour, the over-50s Staysure Tour and the Ladies European Tour will compete for one trophy at the Jordan Mixed Open. 

What you should know

Defending Champion: Pernilla Lindberg
Prize Fund:
$3million - increased from $2.8million last year
Course
: Dinah Shore Tournament Course, Mission Hills, CA
Par: 72 | 6,763 yards
18 Hole record: 62, Lorena Ochoa ('06)
Race to the CME Globe: 625 Points

History: This event began in 1972, and became a major in 1983.

Fun Fact: It is tradition for the winner of the Dinah Shore Trophy to jump in to Poppie's Pond after their victory. 

Defending champions in the field this week: Juli Inkster (1984, 1989), Lydia Ko (2016), Stacy Lewis (2011), Brittany Lincicome (2009, 2015), Pernilla Lindberg (2018), Inbee Park (2013), Morgan Pressel (2007), So Yeon Ryu (2017), Lexi Thompson (2014), Yani Tseng (2010) and Karrie Webb (2006, 2000).

What the players say about the course

Lydia Ko: "The fairways are pretty tight, so I think driving consistency is going to be a big key for any player this week."

Georgia Hall: "I say it's fairly long. The greens are pretty tricky; sometimes a bit hard to read. You got to be good off the tee because the rough is very thick."

Lexi Thompson: "Yeah, definitely some of the fairways are brought in quite a bit, and a few of the tees they moved back. I think 3 and 4 are back, and 15, I believe, are back. So it's playing a little bit longer. The fairways are softer, but the greens are still firm. So it's a good combination. The rough is up, so it's definitely a major championship week. It's in great shape. It's how it should be. I think it suits a ball striker, which major championships usually should. It's just a great layout."

Charley Hull: "I like it because it's a ball strikers golf course. You got to hit it good. I just really like it. It's my first ever pro tournament well, I was an amateur and I it was my first ever professional tournament I ever played in when I was like 15 or 16, and I just loved it ever since. It's a proper golf course."

Brittany Lincicome: "The greens, I talked to the guy yesterday. Already running at 12 and a half he said on a Monday. I can't even imagine what it's going to be like on Sunday. That's how it should be: firm and fast and the harder the better. It's a major. But it's definitely -- they've definitely shrunk some fairways in making it longer, which is great. Whoever wins this week is going to have played the best and hit the most fairways and greens for sure." 

Ana Inspiration: How to watch 

Thursday:
Live LPGA Tour, Sky Sports Main Event (17:00), Sky Sports Golf (17:00), Sky Sports Mix (17:00)

Friday: 
Live LPGA Tour, Sky Sports Main Event (00:00), Sky Sports Golf (00:00), Sky Sports Mix (00:00), Sky Sports Main Event (17:00), Sky Sports Golf (17:00), Sky Sports Mix (17:00)

Saturday: 
Live LPGA Tour, Sky Sports Main Event (00:00), Sky Sports Golf (00:00), Sky Sports Mix (00:00), Sky Sports Golf (23:00)

Sunday:
Live LPGA Tour, Sky Sports Main Event (00:30), Sky Sports Mix (00:30), Sky Sports Mix (22:00), Sky Sports Main Event (23:00), Sky Sports Golf (23:00)

The favourites

Jin Young Ko: 10/1
Ko won the Bank of Hope Founders Cup two weeks ago, and was runner-up at last week's Kia Classic for her fourth top-3 result in four starts. The only draw back? In three starts at Mission Hills she's gone T71-CUT-T64. 

Sung Hyun Park: 11/1
Park already has two victories to her name in 2019 at the HSBC Women's World Championship and the 2019 The Country Club Ladies Invitational, so it's no surprise the World No.1 is one of the favourites this week. She finished tied second with Park and Ko last week at the Kia Classic, and in three appearances at the ANA Inspiration has gone T6-T14-T9. 

Nelly Korda: 12/1
One of the hottest players on the LPGA Tour right now, Nelly Korda hasn't finished worse than T10 in her last six starts - which includes victory at the ISPS HANDA Women's Australian Open. Finished T13 here last year.

Ariya Jutanugarn: 16/1
The world No.2 finished fourth last year for the second time in three years (T8 in 2017), and with a top 10 and three top 20s in her last six starts on Tour, she's one not to overlook. 

Inbee Park: 16/1
Last year's runner-up lost after eight holes of sudden death, and the World No.6 heads to Mission hills in great form, having finished 2nd at last week's Kia Classic. She hasn't finished worse than T34 since the Ricoh Women's British Open, and was the champion here in 2013. 

5 Others to look at 

Jessica Korda: 20/1
T4 here last year and finished 2nd in here first start of the year at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup two weeks ago, along with sister Nelly. 

Minjee Lee: 18/1
The World No.3 started the year with back-to-back runner-up finishes but has since gone T58-T28. That being said, she was T3 here in 2017. 

Lydia Ko: 18/1
Winner here in 2016 and has since gone T11-T20. Finished T13 last week, and has two top 10s and two other top 20s in 2019 so far. 

Lexi Thompson: 20/1
Thompson missed the cut last week but finished T2 at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and 3rd at the Honda LPGA Thailand before that. Coupled with the fact she has a victory, three other top 10s and a T20 here in the last five years, she's one not to overlook. 

Charley Hull: 40/1
She made an equipment switch from Titleist to TaylorMade just two weeks ago, and despite finishing T58-T47 in her last two starts, she's had three top 10s in her last five years here - so it's a place she feels comfortable at and plays well.