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1991 : Babe Zaharias

1991 Memorial Tournament Honoree

Image Credit: http://www.latimes.com

In 1954, shortly after undergoing major surgery for cancer, and frequently playing in severe pain, Babe Zaharias won five tournaments on the LPGA Tour, including the United States Women’s Open Championship by a margin of 12 strokes. Along with Open in 1948 and 1950, plus her four Western Opens and three Titleholders, this brought her total of women’s major professional championships to ten. In her lifetime, she won 82 tournaments, including 17 consecutive amateur victories from summer 1946 to summer 1947, an achievement unequaled in the history of golf. Her victory in the 1947 British Amateur was the first by an American, and she became the first player to win both the U.S. and British Women’s Amateur Championships.

As a founder and charter member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, Babe Zaharias was a major force in establishing women’s tournament golf in the U.S. During her eight years on the tour, she achieved 31 victories and was the leading money-winner in four consecutive years. Not only was Babe one of the best golfers in the world, she was also one of the greatest athletes of all time. After success as an All-American basketball player, she became a star of track and field, setting many U.S. and world records, and eventually winning two gold medals and one silver medal in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games.