In golf, like many sports, the feats of the game’s men are touted far more than those of the women. But in golf it is a female who holds the record for the most wins with 88. Sam Sneed, Tiger Woods, and Mickey Wright are all tied for second with 82.
The winningest golfer – Kathy Whitworth – died suddenly December 24, 2022 at the age of 83 while celebrating with friends. Longtime partner Bettye Odle reported the death but did not report a cause.
Odle spoke on her partner via a statement saying, “Kathy left this world the way she lived her life — loving, laugh and creating memories.”
Whitworth’s professional golfing career as a member of the LPGA spanned nearly 25 years where she became the first female golfer to reach the million dollar mark in earnings; which she reached in 1981.
She won her first title in 1962 in the Kelly Girls Open and took over the most career wins record in 1982 with the Lady Michelob Open. Saying, “winner never got old”, Whitworth earned her final victory in 1985 with the United Virginia Bank Classic.
But with all of her wins, the one win that escaped her was the U.S. Women’s Open. Speaking on the title eluding her Whitworth said, “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.”
Her other accolades include winning the AP Female Athlete of the Year in 1965 and again in 1967, is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, is a seven time LPGA Player of the Year, and won the Vare Trophy seven times for earning the lowest scoring average of the year.
Born in the west Texas town of Monahans, she learned to play golf in her teens at a nine hole course in Jal, New Mexico that was built for El Paso Natural Gas employees. Still in her teens, she turned pro and joined the LPGA in 1958 at age 19. She once spoke on her choice saying, “I was really fortunate in that I knew what I wanted to do. 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.”
After leaving the professional golfing circuit, she continued to stay active in the game and passed on her love of the game by conducting junior clinics.
There was no list of survivors given.
Feature photo credit: Golf Channel Facebook page