What Is the Origin of the Dinah Shore Golf Tournament?

By M.L. Rose
Dinah Shore, left, with winner Betsy King at the 1990 Nabisco Dinah Shore Tournament.
Dinah Shore, left, with winner Betsy King at the 1990 Nabisco Dinah Shore Tournament.

Singer and TV personality Dinah Shore originated the Ladies Professional Golf Association event that was called the Colgate-Dinah Shore Winners Circle Tournament when it debuted in 1972. Shore, who died in 1994, was a golfer and a supporter of women’s professional golf. Shore's event, which has undergone several name changes, has been the Kraft Nabisco Championship since 2002. Since 1983, it has been one of the four major championships of women’s golf.

Shore’s Golf History

Shore, who was perhaps best known as a radio and early television star, was also an athlete. Although her mother played golf, Shore was a swimmer and a member of the fencing team at Vanderbilt University. She didn’t play golf until she was 52, about four years before founding her tournament. Shore quickly became an avid player and was the first woman member of Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles. She was also the first woman to play in a PGA Tour pro-am event. She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1994.

First Dinah Shore Tournament

Jane Blalock shot a 54-hole total of 213 to win the first Dinah Shore tournament in 1972 at Mission Hills Country Club in California, the only home the event has known. Blalock earned $20,000 for her victory, which was $15,000 more than any other LPGA tournament winner was awarded that year. More importantly, Shore used her Hollywood glamour to put women’s golf in the spotlight for the first time. “Sometimes in sports there is a defining moment,” Blalock told the “Los Angeles Times” in 2011. “That moment for us was 40 years ago” at Dinah Shore's tournament.

Ladies of the Lake

After winning the 1988 tournament, then known as the Nabisco Dinah Shore, Amy Alcott leaped into the lake near the 18th green; that lake is now called “Champion’s Lake.” Alcott won again in 1991, after which she and Shore both jumped into the lake. The leap has since become traditional, with golf legends such as Patty Sheehan, Betsy King and Annika Sorenstam taking the plunge.

Tournament History

The tournament became a 72-hole event in 1973. Its name was changed to the Nabisco Championship in 2000, then the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2002. Although Shore’s name no longer graces the tournament’s marquee, the champion still receives the Dinah Shore Trophy. Alcott, King and Sorenstam have all won the tournament three times. As of 2012, the event has a purse of $2 million, with a $300,000 winner’s share.

About the Author

M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.

Photo Credits

  • Ken Levine/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
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