Kathy Whitworth set a benchmark in golf nobody has ever touched, whether or not it was Sam Snead or Tiger Woods, Mickey Wright or Annika Sorenstam. Her 88 victories are probably the most by any participant on a single skilled tour.
Whitworth, whose LPGA Tour victories spanned almost 1 / 4 century and who turned the primary lady to earn $1 million on the LPGA, died on Christmas Eve, her longtime accomplice stated. She was 83.
Bettye Odle didn’t disclose a explanation for demise, saying solely that Whitworth died all of a sudden Saturday night time whereas celebrating with household and pals.
“Kathy left this price the best way she lived her life — loving, snicker and creating reminiscences,” Odle stated in a press release launched by the LPGA Tour.
Whitworth received the primary of her 88 titles within the Kelly Lady Open in July 1962. She received six majors throughout her profession and broke Wright’s document of 82 profession wins when Whitworth captured the Girl Michelob in the summertime of 1982.
Her remaining victory got here in 1985 on the United Virginia Financial institution Traditional.
“Successful by no means obtained previous,” Whitworth as soon as stated.
All that was lacking from her profession was the U.S. Girls’s Open, the most important of the ladies’s majors. Upon being the primary lady to surpass $1 million in profession earnings in 1981, she stated, “I’d have swapped being the primary to make one million for successful the Open, however it was a comfort which took a number of the sting out of not successful.”
Whitworth was the AP Feminine Athlete of the 12 months in 1965 and in 1967, when she simply beat out Wimbledon singles champion Billie Jean King. Whitworth was inducted into the World Golf Corridor of Fame in 1982.
She was the LPGA participant of the 12 months seven occasions in an eight-year span (1966 by way of 1973). She received the Vare Trophy for the bottom scoring common seven occasions and was the main cash winner in eight seasons.
However she was recognized by one quantity: 88.
Snead was credited with a document 82 wins on the PGA Tour, a complete Woods has since matched. Wright received 82 occasions on the LPGA Tour, whereas Sorenstam had 72 wins when she retired after the 2006 season at age 36.
“I believe Mickey had the very best swing, and was most likely the best golfer,” Betsy Rawls as soon as advised Golf Digest. “However Kathy was the very best participant of the sport that I’ve ever seen.”
Whitworth was born in Monahans, a small West Texas city, and realized to play golf in New Mexico. She began at age 15 in Jal, New Mexico, on the nine-hole course constructed for the El Paso Pure Fuel staff.
She quickly was a two-time winner of the New Mexico State Newbie. After briefly attending Odessa (Texas) School, she turned professional at age 19 and joined the LPGA Tour in December 1958.
“I used to be actually lucky in that I knew what I wished to do,” Whitworth as soon as advised Golf Digest. “Golf simply grabbed me by the throat. I am unable to inform you how a lot I liked it. I used to assume everybody knew what they wished to do after they have been 15 years previous.”
Wright had the extra aesthetically pleasing swing. Whitworth was all about grinding, and about successful.
Whitworth received eight occasions in 1963 and 1965, and he or she had 11 victories in 1968. In none of these years did she earn greater than $50,000. All these years later, the LPGA Tour complete prize fund for 2023 will prime $100 million.
Whitworth continued to conduct junior clinics and keep energetic within the sport.
“I do not take into consideration the legacy of 88 tournaments,” she as soon as stated. “I did it as a result of I wished to win, to not set a document or a purpose that nobody else might surpass. I am not some nice oddity. I used to be simply lucky to be so profitable. What I did in being a greater participant doesn’t make me a greater particular person.
“After I’m requested how I wish to be remembered, I really feel that if individuals bear in mind me in any respect, it is going to be ok.”
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