The Dinner of Champions for golfers who have won the Chevron Championship was held Monday at the Ritz-Carlton Resort in Rancho Mirage. Although not all of the past champions of the event were there, those who attended were treated to a dinner prepared in part by defending champion Patty Tavatanakit.
“It was cooked by chef Thomas Keller. I was truly honored to work with him on the menu and had a great meal,” Tavatanakit said. “All the former champions were there. I felt really honored to be there.
Tavatanakit’s suggestion to Chef Keller was to go heavy on the meat.
“So we had ribs, really, really good meat with a dark chocolate dessert,” Tavatanakit said. “Chef Keller did a great job creating this menu, because I just told him I like beef.”
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Yuka Saso, who won the US Women’s Open last year, played in the Chevron Championship earlier in 2021 for the first time as a pro. But it wasn’t her first time playing on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course.
Saso was one of the golfers who played in the hotly contested junior tournament before the Chevron Championship, playing with Hall of Famers or LPGA legends and trying to earn a spot in the major championship field. Saso played in 2017 and didn’t win the tournament, but she remembers getting good advice from her LPGA partner.
“I was so thankful to have been able to perform in the Hall of Fame,” Saso said. “You know, the first year I played with Jenny Lidback, she gave me a lot of advice. She actually told me — oh, no, actually I asked her how she was preparing for a tournament, and she told me she was focusing on her short game.
This is advice Saso always follows.
“So I think that really helped me, and can you believe that after four years I’m still working on my short game?” Saso burst out laughing.
The Chevron Championship field is 115 players this week, and five of those players are amateurs, a tradition that goes back decades for the event. Amateurs have been an issue for the tournament in recent years with the debut of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, which is also being played this week at Augusta National, home of the Masters.
Fans in the Rancho Mirage field this week include Brooke Seay of San Diego and Stanford University, Gurleen Kaur of Houston and Baylor University, Natasha Andrea Onn of Malaysia and San Jose State, Isabelle Fierro from Mexico and Oklahoma State and Bohyun Park from South Korea and the University of Texas.
Fifteen players made their way into the field for the first major championship on Sunday thanks to their performances on the LPGA this year. One of those players was Atthaya Thitikul from Thailand, who won the JTBC Classic in Carlsbad last week.
The other 14 players new to the Chevron event this week are golfers who were not yet eligible but made the top 80 in the Race to the CME Globe at the end of the Carlsbad tournament.
One of the attractions of the new deal with Chevron for the LPGA is that the tournament will split its time with Golf Channel and NBC next year, placing the tournament on one of the four major networks for the first time since 2011.
This week, all four rounds of the tournament will air on the Golf Channel, starting Thursday and Friday at 9 a.m. A second live stream of the tournament will begin at 4 p.m.