WATCH: Chevron winner Lilia Vu jumps into ‘new Poppie’s Pond,’ but not without warning
It wasn’t the first question from NBC Sports’ Tom Abbott when he greeted new Chevron Champion Lilia Vu off the 18th green, but it was definitely the most anticipated.
“There’s a lot of people here wondering one question: Are you going to jump?” the broadcaster asked Vu. The interview taking place right after the crowd ringing the 18th green at Carlton Woods reined down with chants of “Jump! Jump! Jump!”
“Of course I am! After that? Yes, of course!” Vu said, moments after sinking the winning birdie putt in a playoff against Angel Yin.
But before Vu could head to the dock just off the 18 green in the lake short of the green, Abbot offered a warning.
“Now I need to tell you here, you need to jump off the end of the dock here, OK?” Abbot said. “And jump as far as you can and enjoy it.”
Hardly comforting words to hear after a week of “Will she or won’t she?” regarding the longtime tradition of the event.
“That direction from Tom does not instill confidence,” play-by-play announcer Terry Gannon said.
Nevertheless, with a three-step run off the dock, golf’s newest major champion answered everyone’s question.
At the Chevron’s previous home at Mission Hills Country Club in the California desert, winners would take the plunge and jump into Poppie’s Pond off the 18th green. Over the years, the club prepared for this tradition by cleaning up the pond significantly. So much so, it came to resemble the clearness of a swimming pool.
With the Club at Carlton Woods hosting the LPGA’s first major of the year for the first time, the lake short of the 18th green was dredged out, the dock placed and “alligator netting” added to keep the area safe from wildlife. Yet, tournament organizers still weren’t sure if the eventual champion would continue the tradition.
The event’s defending champion, Jennifer Kupcho, stopped well short of a ringing endorsement when asked pre-tournament if she’d repeat her dive from last year.
“I guess we’ll see what comes down to it,” she said Tuesday. “I’m not really sure. I think there might be snakes in the water here, so might be a little interesting.”
No word on if the alligator netting could stop snakes.
Other reaction from players was mixed, with Nelly Korda saying she “hopefully” would have jumped and World No. 1 Lydia Ko questioning if the tradition was to be kept up at all.
Six days later, the debate is no more.