The Chevron Championship: The most memorable moments from a half century of action at Missions Hills

From next year the year’s first Major Championship will re-locate to Texas.

There is a very real sense of first and last about this week.

The Chevron Championship is the first Major of 2022 and also the first time the sponsor has backed the tournament (formerly known as The ANA Inspiration).

It is also the last time that the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California will host.

It's been an extremely popular venue with players and spectators alike and has witnessed some outrageous drama, especially in the 21st century.

Here are three of the most memorable moments at Missions Hills.

In-Kyung Kim's agony

In 2012 Korea's In-Kyung Kim overhauled the pre-final round leaders Yani Tseng and Karin Sjodin.

Playing the final hole she needed only to complete it in the regulation five blows to claim the title and she left herself no more than 14 inches to achieve just that.

Whereupon her tap-in lapped the hole and headed straight back to her; an utterly ghastly moment that was followed by play off defeat.

Five years later she led the British Open and before her final round revealed that strangers would often approach her and start to cry about her miss. "I don't know to react to that," she admitted.

A massive Beatles fan, her favourite song is Blackbird, which has the apt lyrics: "Take these broken wings and learn to fly, you were only waiting for this moment to be free."

Playing the final hole at Kingsbarns with a two shot lead a bird actually put her off prior to hitting her approach, but she stepped away and refocussed before completing her par.

Victory was secured and so was redemption.

Lexi Thompson's rules fiasco

The journey Lexi Thompson makes from San Diego to Rancho Mirage every April for the ANA Inspiration is one she has always enjoyed.

When she first made it as a 14-year-old, ahead of a precocious debut, she might have enjoyed vivid daydreams that one day she would lift the trophy and shortly after make the traditional plunge into Poppy's Pond. If she did, the daydream came true in 2014.

But three years later, on the brink of winning for a second time, the tale turned toxic.

Thompson was leading midway through the final round when TV revealed that a viewer had emailed officials and drawn their attention to her marking of the ball on the 17th green in round three.

Having viewed footage the referees docked her a two shot penalty for an infringement and another two shot penalty for signing an incorrect card.

They then approached her on the course and explained what had happened. A stunned Thompson initially thought it was a belated April Fool's Day joke, but it was nothing of the sort.

Twitter was suddenly alive with the controversy and everyone in golf got involved.

"That rules is broken every time a ball is marked," wrote Paul Goydos.

"An absurd ruling," cried Golf Channel's Martin Hall (who also works with Thompson). "A great event showcasing the best players in the world thrown into ruins."

Cheyenne Woods argued: "Viewers should not be able to call in rulings."

And her Uncle Tiger got involved -

Incredibly, Thompson rallied and forced a playoff, but lost the title to So Yeon Ryu.

The rules have subsequently changed to avoid the sport looking so foolish, but it was Thompson who had to bear the brunt of the kerfuffle.

Webby claims seventh Major

Let's end on a high after those moments of double agony.

Ask most folk to name Australia's most successful Major winners and the chances are that you'd get Peter Thomson as an answer (he won five Opens), maybe Greg Norman (he won two Opens) or even David Graham (the only other male multiple Major winner).

But the winner of the most Majors? Karrie Webb trumps them all with seven and her final triumph was completed in spectacular style at this event in 2006, her second victory in Rancho Mirage.

Starting the final round in a tie for sixth and seven shots back of the lead, she reeled in, stayed clear of, and/or passed a host of Major winners, Annika Sorenstam, Helen Alfredsson, Morgan Pressel, Beth Daniel, Brittany Lang, Juli Inkster and Michelle Wie among them.

Playing the par-5 18th she remained distant of Lorena Ochoa, the leader through the entire week, and when she couldn't hit the green in two it seemed her chances of setting a fierce clubhouse target were slim.

No worries. The Aussie legend binned her approach from 116-yards for an eagle and defeated the Mexican with birdie at the first extra hole.

"When that shot dropped my heart just about jumped out of my chest," she said later and it turned out that finishing long before Ochoa helped her out.

"It took me probably 15 minutes to calm down.

"There was a little element of luck, but also a lot of hard work paid off right there."

Webb continues to exert a big influence on golf down under. She's become a popular mentor of young talent and has helped both Hannah Green and Minjee Lee join her as Aussie winners of Majors.

READ MORE: The Chevron Championship: The first Major Championship of 2022 and the final year at Missions Hills

Latest news