The world of golf has been paying tribute to the record-breaking former LPGA Tour player Kathy Whitworth after she died at the age of 83 on Christmas Eve. The American’s 88 LPGA wins are the most on any professional tour, exceeding the men’s PGA Tour record of 82 shared by Sam Snead and Tiger Woods.
She won six major titles – the Titleholders Championship in 1965 and 1966, the 1967 Western Open and the Women’s PGA Championship in 1967, 1971 and finally 1975, the year she was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
“Thanks for setting the bar so high, Kathy. RIP,” wrote the 10-time major winnerAnnika Sörenstam on Twitter. The Swede, who holds the record for most overall wins, 72 of them on the LPGA tour, added: “As the LPGA’s all-time wins, leader, and a total class act, she will be dearly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and close friends.”
The tennis great Billie Jean King pointed out on Twitter that Whitworth had set other landmarks during her career. “Kathy Whitworth, who had 88 career wins and was the winningest golfer in history, has died. She was the first woman to earn $1m in the @LPGA. I had the honor of meeting her. She loved her sport, and was a trailblazer and a true champion. May she rest in peace.”
Remembered for her rivalry with the 13-time major winner Mickey Wright, Whitworth, who was born in Texas, later became the US’s first Solheim Cup captain in 1990.
Announcing Whitworth’s death the LPGA commissioner, Mollie Marcoux Samaan, said in a statement on its website: “The golf world and the world in general lost one of its most incredible women with the passing of Kathy Whitworth. Kathy was a champion in the truest sense of the word, both on the golf course and off.”
Whitworth’s partner, Bettye Odle, added: “It is with a heart full of love that we let everyone know of the passing of the winningest golf professional ever, Kathy Whitworth. Kathy passed suddenly Saturday night celebrating Christmas Eve with family and friends. Kathy left this world the way she lived her life, loving, laughing and creating memories.”
Update on Youtube Kathy Whitworth, golfer with most wins on single pro tour, dies at 83
Kathy Whitworth set a benchmark in golf no one has ever touched, whether it was Sam Snead or Tiger Woods, Mickey Wright or Annika Sorenstam. Her 88 victories are the most by any player on a single professional tour.
Whitworth, whose LPGA Tour victories spanned nearly a quarter-century and who became the first woman to earn million on the LPGA, died on Christmas Eve, her longtime partner said. She was 83.
Bettye Odle did not disclose a cause of death, saying only that Whitworth died suddenly Saturday night while celebrating with family and friends.
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