A game deeply rooted in history and tradition, golf has witnessed some legendary female golfers. The greatness of a golfer is measured by the totality of their on-course careers. This includes their: results, demeanor, interaction with spectators & media and overall impact on the playing of golf.
Here, DSport has picked up the ten greatest female golfers of all-time.
Annika Sörenstam is a retired Swedish professional golfer, one of the most successful female golfers in history. She led women’s golf into the modern era of big purse. Annika was the first and only female to cross the $20 million mark for LPGA career earnings. Her $22 million-plus total is nearly $3 million more than the next-closest competitor despite not competing since the 2008 season.
The winner of a record eight Player of the Year awards, and six Vare Trophies given to the LPGA player with the lowest seasonal scoring average, she is the only female golfer to shoot a 59 in competition. She holds various all-time scoring records including the lowest season scoring average: 68.6969 in 2004.
She won 10 LPGA major championships in her active playing career which includes winning Kraft Nabisco C’ship three times, LPGA Championship three times, U.S. Women’s Open three times and the Women’s British Open in 2003. She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003.
Mickey Wright is an American former LPGA female professional golfer. She joined the LPGA Tour in 1955, and enjoyed meteoric success over her 15-year career. She won an incredible 82 LPGA Tour events, placing second (behind Kathy Whitworth) on the all-time list, and 13 major championships. She is the only player in LPGA Tour history to hold all four major titles at the same time.
Former American female professional golfer Kathy Whitworth became the first woman to reach career earnings of $1 million on the LPGA Tour in 1981. She won a total of six major championships. She was LPGA Player of the Year seven times between 1966 and 1973, won the Vare Trophy for best scoring average by an LPGA Tour Player a record seven times between 1965 and 1972, and entered the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1975.
Among many golfing achievements she captained the USA in the inaugural Solheim Cup (1990) and recorded at least one victory in each of 17 consecutive years
Louise Suggs was one of the giants from the early years of the LPGA – one of the tour’s co-founders, and one of the best players in women’s golf from the 1940s and 1950s. Suggs turned professional in 1948 and went on to win 58 additional professional tournaments, with a total of 11 majors. Her prowess on the golf course is reflected in the fact that from 1950 to 1960 she was only once out of the top 3 in the season-ending money list.
Suggs was an inaugural inductee into the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame, established in 1967, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1979. She is also a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
Patty Berg was an American professional golfer and a founding member and then leading player on the LPGA Tour during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Her astonishing career included 15 major championships, in addition to a total of 60 victories on the LPGA Tour. In 1948, she helped established the Tour, and became its first President. Berg also estimated that she taught over 16,000 golf clinics, introducing hundreds of thousands of new players to the game.
Betsy Rawls, the most respected woman in the game of golf. Her 55 career victories rank behind only Kathy Whitworth, Mickey Wright and Patty Berg, and she shares the record with Wright for the most U.S. Women’s Opens with four. But as much as what she did on the course, Rawls was admired for her excellence at every level of the game.
The USGA could not have honored a more deserving person than Rawls when it presented her the Bob Jones Award for distinguished service in 1996.
Olympic gold medal winner in track and field. All-American basketball player in college. Champion golfer. ‘The Babe’ was not only one of the best female golfers but arguably the most multi-talented female sportsperson who ever lived and one of the greatest athletes, male or female, of all time! A pure tomboy, decades ahead of her time.
The Babe had 41 pro tournament wins, including 10 Majors (equal 4th all-time with Annika Sorenstam) from 1940-1955 and won, in all, 82 tournaments. That alone would place her in everybody’s all-time Top10 woman golfers.
Karrie Ann Webb is Australia’s most successful female professional golfer Karrie Webb is one of the greatest players in the history of women’s golf.
She holds a career grand slam, having won all five Majors that carried that status during her playing career (the 4 current ones plus the du Maurier). She also won the British Open twice (’95 & ’97) before it replaced the du Maurier as a Major.
Her 41 LPGA Tour victories places her tied for 10th with Babe Zaharias on the list of players with the most career LPGA tournament wins and first among all active players.
After a solid amateur career, Nancy burst onto the LPGA Tour in 1978 and never looked back. She won 9 times that year, including 5 consecutive tournaments, and instantly became a household name. She then won 8 times the following year to cement her fame and went on to win 52 times altogether in a relatively short career at the top.
Lopez considered one of the greats in the history of women’s golf, and the best player from the late 1970s to late 1980s. Her three major championships all came at the LPGA Championship, in 1978, 1985, and 1989. Lopez is the only woman to win LPGA Rookie of the Year, Player of the Year, and the Vare Trophy in the same season (1978).
Few players in the modern era have enjoyed greater longevity than Juli Inkster. With a professional career spanning 29 years to date, Inkster’s 31 wins rank her second in wins among all active players on the LPGA Tour; she has over $13 million in career earnings. She also has more wins in Solheim Cup matches than any other American, and is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Inkster’s achievements as an amateur alone are almost deserving of placement in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Inkster was a consistent winner during the 1980s, winning four times in 1986 and collecting her second Dinah Shore title in 1989.
Inkster will again captain the United States team in the 2017 Solheim Cup set to be held at the Des Moines Golf and Country Club in West Des Moines, Iowa.