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Thursday, May 23, 2024

At the age of 83, Kathy Whitworth, who held the record for most wins in the United States, passed away

On Saturday, Kathy Whitworth passed away. She had joined the Ladies Professional Golf Association circuit in the late 1950s, when it was only a blip on the national sports landscape. She went on to win 88 events, which is a record for both women and men on U.S. tours. Her age was 83.

Christina Lance, a spokesperson for the LPGA, reported that Whitworth passed away shortly after collapsing at a neighbourhood Christmas party in Flower Mound, Texas, where she resided. She had been attending the celebration.

When she finished third in the 1981 Women’s Open, the only major tournament she didn’t win, Whitworth became the first woman in the history of women’s professional golf to win more than $1 million in prize money. Whitworth, who turned professional at the age of 19, was the LPGA Tour’s leading money winner eight times. In an age when purses were smaller, she raked in more than $1.7 million throughout the course of her career.

It was a consolation that took some of the sting out of not winning, she said in a feature for the World Golf Hall of Fame. “I would have exchanged being the first to earn a million for winning the Open,” she added. “But it was a consolation which took some of the sting out of not winning.”

The only current golfer who comes even somewhat close to Whitworth’s total number of PGA Tour wins is Tiger Woods, who has 82 triumphs on the tour. Sam Snead, who passed away in 2002, is also credited with 82 wins on the PGA Tour, while Mickey Wright is the only player in LPGA Tour history to win 82 times.

Whitworth was a seven-time winner of the LPGA Player of the Year award and seven-time winner of the Vare Trophy, which is given to the player with the lowest stroke average over the course of a season. She is especially well-known for her outstanding putting and bunker game as well as a fine fade shot that kept her in the fairways.

In 1965 and 1966, the Associated Press honoured Whitworth as the Female Athlete of the Year, and the following year, she was inducted into the halls of fame of both the LPGA Tour and the World Golf Association.

During her career, she was victorious in six events that were regarded to be majors, including the Women’s PGA Championship, the Titleholders Championship, and the Western Open. She won each of these tournaments more than once.

Monahans, in the state of West Texas, is where Kathrynne Ann Whitworth was born on September 27th, 1939; however, she spent much of her childhood in Jal, in the state of New Mexico (named for a local rancher, John A. Lynch). Whitworth’s parents, Morris and Dama Whitworth, ran a hardware shop for many years in Jal, which was the location of the headquarters of the El Paso Natural Gas Company, which was the primary economic force in the area.

When she was younger, Whitworth, the youngest of three sisters, liked playing tennis. When she was 15 years old, she started playing golf and was taught by Hardy Loudermilk, the pro at a nine-hole course in Jal.

In 1981, she gave an interview to The New York Times in which she said, “That was more than 10 years before open tennis tournaments were authorised.” “At the time, golf was the only professional sport open to women, therefore I chose to pursue a career in the sport.”

Because Loudermilk believed that she had an extraordinary amount of potential, he referred her to Harvey Penick, the head pro at the Austin Country Club. Harvey Penick went on to become one of golf’s most well-known instructors and is best known for his instructional book “Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book,” which he co-wrote with Bud Shrake in 1992.

Despite the fact that it included excellent players like as Wright, Rawls, and Louise Suggs at the time, the LPGA was having trouble at the time. The number of galleries was not very high, and travelling musicians often slept in inexpensive motels and drove themselves between cities.

When Whitworth was only in her fourth year on the tour, she finally triumphed in a competition by taking first place in the Kelly Girl Open. She credited her second triumph, which she achieved later that year at the Phoenix Thunderbird Open, with providing her with the confidence to survive the intense competition.

Dan O'Brien
Dan O'Brien
I am a journalist for The National Era with an emphasis in sports.
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