The Ladies Professional Golf Association announced on Sunday that Kathy Whitworth, who holds the most victories in LPGA and PGA history, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 83.
“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 while celebrating Christmas Eve with family and friends,” Bettye Odle, the longtime partner of the legend, wrote in a statement issued by the LPGA. “Kathy left this world the way she lived her life, loving, laughing, and creating memories.”
LPGA Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan additionally wrote a statement in regard to the golf veteran’s death. Celebrating her life, Samaan expressed the sentiments, “Kathy was a champion in the truest sense of the word, both on the golf course and off. In the short time I spent with Kathy, I was truly blown away by her and her approach to the game and to life.”
“Her strength, insightfulness, and vibrancy were obvious from the minute you met her! She inspired me as a young girl and now as the commissioner and I know she did the same for so many others,” she continued. “We all mourn with Bettye, her family, and the entire golf world.”
A look back on the professional golf career of legendary player Kathy Whitworth
Whitworth initially made her rookie debut in 1959 and became well known alongside her rival Mickey Wright, which the LPGA’s statement called “the game of golf’s greatest rivalry.”
According to LPGA’s founder, Louise Suggs, “Mickey was the greatest golfer, but Kathy was the greatest winner.”
Whitworth, who was a native of Texas, is considered to be one of the greatest golfers of all time and holds the record for most tournaments ever won in the world of golf. With 88 wins on the LPGA Tour, she has six more wins than Sam Snead and Tiger Woods, who hold the record for the men’s game.
In 1981, the athlete became the first LPGA representative to amass $1 million in career earnings. The following year, she was inducted into the Golf Hall of Fame. Impressively, up until November of this year, she could still be seen executing wicked swings on the course. Given her substantial impact on the world of gold, her presence in the sport will be sorely missed by countless people.
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