Why LPGA ANA Inspiration Winners Jump in the Lake

Winners of this LPGA major leap into water by 18th green

female golfer and her caddie jumping in a lake
Karrie Webb and her caddie make the "Champion's Leap" following Webb's victory at the 2006 Kraft Nabisco Championship. (Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

The winner of the LPGA's ANA Inspiration (formerly known as the Kraft Nabisco Championship) traditionally 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.

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 - the second time in 1988, and that's the year she took a running leap, jumping off the bank and into the pond next to the final hole.

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. 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 had 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.