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Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Ladies Are Up

Yes, I know the Arnold Palmer Invitational starts today and that it will receive the lion's share of coverage this week. It's a pretty big warm-up for the Masters, which happens week after next. (Next week is the Shell Houston Open.)

But the LPGA's first major, the Kraft Nabisco, is next week. And that makes this week's Kia Classic a very important warm-up indeed.

The usual cast of characters will be at the Kia, of course. So far as I know, NBA player and Kia spokesman Blake Griffin has no plans to dunk over any Optimas. But Creamer, Kerr, the Miyazatos (no relation), Korda, O'Toole, and all the others are scheduled to play.

Among the many storylines this week is Michelle Wie. It's her first start since graduating from Stanford. (Yeah, I know she hasn't got the sheepskin yet, but the schooling's done and the paperwork is just a formality -- congrats, Michelle!) While it probably won't be much different from her previous starts this year since she hasn't had time to do extra practice -- the word is that she's spent the week moving out of her college apartment -- it is her first week as a "free woman." It should be interesting to see how she does.

Sandra GalOf course, Sandra Gal is the defending champion so we'll see how she responds under all the resposibilities.

We'll get a rare chance to see Melissa Reid play, and the KN's defending champion Stacy Lewis will be getting her game in shape.

And -- did you even have to ask? -- the Empress is in the house! Yani Tseng will be going for her 3rd win in 5 starts leading into the KN.

Coverage runs from 6:30 to 9:00pm ET tonight on GC. (That's not tape-delay, as the Kia Classic is played in California. It's 3:30pm on the West Coast.)

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