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 practically a quarter-century and who turned the primary lady to earn $1 million for her profession on the LPGA, died on Christmas Eve, her longtime accomplice mentioned. She was 83.
Bettye Odle didn’t disclose a explanation for demise, saying solely that Whitworth died out of the blue Saturday evening whereas celebrating with household and pals.
“Kathy left this world the way she lived her life — loving, laugh and creating memories,” Odle mentioned in a press release launched by the LPGA Tour.
Whitworth gained the primary of her 88 titles within the Kelly Ladies Opens in July 1962. She gained six majors throughout her profession and broke Mickey Wright’s document of 82 profession wins when Whitworth captured the Girl Michelob in the summertime of 1982.
Her last victory got here in 1985 on the United Virginia Financial institution Traditional.
“Winning never got old,” Whitworth as soon as mentioned.
All that was lacking from her profession was the U.S. Ladies’s Open, the largest of the ladies’s majors. Upon being the primary lady to surpass $1 million in profession earnings in 1981, she mentioned, “I would have swapped being the first to make a million for winning the Open, but it was a consolation which took some of the sting out of not winning.”
Sorenstam referred to her on Twitter because the LPGA’s all-time victory chief and a “total class act” who might be dearly missed.
“Thanks for setting the bar so high, Kathy,” she wrote.
Whitworth was the AP Feminine Athlete of the Yr 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 gained the Vare Trophy for the bottom scoring common seven occasions and he or she 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 gained 82 occasions on the LPGA Tour, whereas Sorenstam had 72 wins when she retired after the 2006 season at age 36.
“I think Mickey had the best swing, and was probably the greatest golfer,” Betsy Rawls as soon as advised Golf Digest. “But Kathy was the best player of the game that I have ever seen.”
Whitworth was born in Monahans, a small West Texas city, and discovered 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 Gasoline workers.
She quickly was a two-time winner of the New Mexico State Beginner. After briefly attending Odessa (Texas) School, she turned professional at age 19 and joined the LPGA Tour in December 1958.
“I was really fortunate in that I knew what I wanted to do,” Whitworth as soon as advised Golf Digest. “Golf just grabbed me by the throat. I can’t tell you how much I loved it. I used to think everyone knew what they wanted to do when they were 15 years old.”
Wright had the extra aesthetically pleasing swing. Whitworth was all about grinding, and about successful.
Whitworth gained 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 high $100 million.
Whitworth continued to conduct junior clinics and keep energetic within the recreation.
“I don’t think about the legacy of 88 tournaments,” she as soon as mentioned. “I did it because I wanted to win, not to set a record or a goal that no one else could surpass. I’m not some great oddity. I was just fortunate to be so successful. What I did in being a better player does not make me a better person.
“When I’m asked how I would like to be remembered, I feel that if people remember me at all, it will be good enough.”
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