February 13, 1918|
September 10, 2006 (aged 88)|
Fort Myers, Florida
Patricia Jane Berg (February 13, 1918 – September 10, 2006) was an American professional golfer and a founding member and then leading player on the LPGA Tour during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Her 15 major title wins remains the all-time record for most major wins by a female golfer. She is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Amateur career[edit | edit source]
Berg was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and expressed an interest in football at an early age. At one point, she played quarterback on a local team that included future Oklahoma Sooners head football coach Bud Wilkinson. At the age of 13, Berg took up golf in 1931 at the suggestion of her parents; by 1934, she began her amateur career and won the Minneapolis City Championship. The following year, Berg claimed a state amateur title. She attended the University of Minnesota where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She came to national attention by reaching the final of the 1935 U.S. Women's Amateur, losing to Glenna Collett-Vare in Vare's final Amateur victory. Berg won the Titleholders in 1937. In 1938, she won the U.S. Women's Amateur at Westmoreland and the Women's Western Amateur. With a victory in the 1938 Titleholders Championship and a spot on the winning Curtis Cup team as well, Berg was selected as the Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year, the first of three times she earned the honor. In 1939, Berg won her third consecutive Titleholders, although she was unable to compete in the U.S. Women's Amateur due to an operation on her appendix.
Professional career[edit | edit source]
After winning 29 amateur titles, she turned professional in 1940. During World War II she was a lieutenant in the Marines, 1942–45. Berg's career had been interrupted by an automobile accident in December 1941; while traveling to a fund-raising event with Helen Dettweiler, a head-on accident shattered Berg's knee. Despite concerns that her golfing career would end, Berg returned to the game in 1943, helped by a locker room fall that broke adhesions which had developed in her leg. Upon her comeback, she won the Women's Western Open. She won the inaugural U.S. Women's Open in 1946. In 1948, she helped establish the forerunner of the LPGA, the Women's Professional Golf Association (WPGA), winning three tournaments that season and in 1949. When the LPGA was officially started in 1950, Berg was one of the 13 founding members and held a leadership position as the association's first president. Berg won a total of 57 events on the LPGA and WPGA circuit, and was runner-up in the 1957 Open at Winged Foot. She was runner-up in the 1956 and 1959 LPGA Championships. In addition, Berg won the 1953, 1957, and 1958 Women's Western Opens, the 1955 and 1957 Titleholders, both considered majors at the time. Her last victory came in 1962. She was voted the Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year in 1942 and 1955, in addition to her 1938 award. During a four-year stretch from 1953 to 1956, Berg won the Vare Trophy three times for having the lowest scoring average on the LPGA. She was the LPGA Tour's top money winner twice, in 1954 and 1957, and her seven Titleholders wins is an all-time record. Berg won 15 women's major golf championships in her career, including the seven Titleholders victories, seven wins in the Women's Western Open, and the 1946 U.S. Women's Open championship.
In 1963, Berg was voted the recipient of the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf. Berg received the 1986 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, GCSAA's highest honor. The LPGA established the Patty Berg Award in 1978. In her later years, Berg teamed-up with PGA Tour player and fellow Fort Myers, Florida resident Nolan Henke to establish the Nolan Henke/Patty Berg Junior Masters to promote the development of young players.
Berg was sponsored on the LPGA Tour her entire career by public golf patriarch Joe Jemsek, owner of the famous Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Illinois, site of the PGA Tour's Western Open from 1991 to 2006. Berg represented another of Jemsek's public facilities, St. Andrews Golf & Country Club in West Chicago, Illinois, on the women's circuit for over 60 years.
Berg told Chicagoland Golf magazine she taught over 16,000 clinics in her lifetime – many of which were sponsored by Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods and were called "The Patty Berg Hit Parade." In that interview, Berg figured she personally indoctrinated to the game of golf over a half-million new players. She was a member of Wilson's Advisory Staff for 66 years, until her death.
She announced in December 2004 that she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She died in Fort Myers from complications of the disease 21 months later at the age of 88.
Professional wins (63)[edit | edit source]
LPGA Tour wins (60)[edit | edit source]
- 1937 (1) Titleholders Championship (as an amateur)
- 1938 (1) Titleholders Championship (as an amateur)
- 1939 (1) Titleholders Championship (as an amateur)
- 1941 (3) Women's Western Open, North Carolina Open, New York Invitational
- 1943 (2) Women's Western Open, All American Open
- 1945 (1) All American Open
- 1946 (4) Northern California Open, Northern California Medal Tournament, Pebble Beach Open, U.S. Women's Open
- 1947 (3) Northern California Open, Pebble Beach Open, Northern California Medal Tournament
- 1948 (3) Titleholders Championship, Women's Western Open, Hardscrabble Open
- 1949 (3) Tampa Open, Texas PGA Championship, Hardscrabble Open
- 1950 (3) Eastern Open, Sunset Hills Open, Hardscrabble Women's Invitational
- 1951 (5) Sandhills Women's Open, Pebble Beach Weathervane, New York Weathervane, 144 Hole Weathervane, Women's Western Open
- 1952 (3) New Orleans Women's Open, Richmond Open, New York Weathervane
- 1953 (7) Jacksonville Open, Titleholders Championship, New Orleans Women's Open, Phoenix Weathervane (tied with Louise Suggs), Reno Open, All American Open, World Championship
- 1954 (3) Triangle Round Robin, World Championship, Ardmore Open
- 1955 (6) St. Petersburg Open, Titleholders Championship, Women's Western Open, All American Open, World Championship, Clock Open
- 1956 (2) Dallas Open, Arkansas Open
- 1957 (5) Havana Open, Titleholders Championship, Women's Western Open, All American Open, World Championship
- 1958 (2) Women's Western Open, American Women's Open
- 1960 (1) American Women's Open
- 1962 (1) Muskogee Civitan Open
LPGA majors are shown in bold.
Other wins (3)[edit | edit source]
- 1944 Pro-Lady Victory National (with Johnny Revolta)
- 1950 Orlando Two-Ball (with Earl Stewart)
- 1954 Orlando Two-Ball (with Pete Cooper)
Major championships[edit | edit source]
Wins (15)[edit | edit source]
Results timeline[edit | edit source]
|Women's Western Open||DNP||QF||DNP|
|Women's Western Open||DNP||1||DNP||1||QF||DNP||2||SF||1||SF|
|U.S. Women's Open||NYF||NYF||NYF||NYF||NYF||NYF||1||9||T4||T4|
|Women's Western Open||SF||1||QF||2||SF||1||T4||1||1||T2|
|U.S. Women's Open||5||8||9||3||12||5||T3||2||T9||6|
|Women's Western Open||T13||T15||T3||DNP||14||9||?||T11||NT||NT|
|U.S. Women's Open||17||18||T13||T29||10||T22||T18||39||T29||CUT|
|U.S. Women's Open||31||DNP||DNP||CUT||DNP||CUT||CUT||CUT||CUT||CUT|
NYF = Tournament not yet founded
NT = No tournament
DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
R16, QF, SF = Round in which player lost in match play
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10
Summary[edit | edit source]
- Starts – 93 1
- Wins – 15
- 2nd-place finishes – 10
- 3rd-place finishes – 6
- Top 3 finishes – 31
- Top 5 finishes – 40
- Top 10 finishes – 57
- Top 25 finishes – 77
- Missed cuts – 8
- Most consecutive cuts made – 79
- Longest streak of top-10s – 32
1 Does not include those with "?"
Team appearances[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- "Golf pioneer Patty Berg passes away at 88". PGA Tour. September 10, 2006. Archived from the original on August 28, 2008. https://web.archive.org/web/20080828022430/http://www.pgatour.com/story/9650624/.
- Carlson, Michael (September 12, 2006). "Patty Berg". The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2006/sep/12/guardianobituaries.gender. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
- Hickok, Ralph (1995). A Who's Who of Sports Champions: Their Stories and Records. Houghton Mifflin. pp. 63–64. ISBN 9780395733127.
- "Yesterday's News: Patty Berg, 20, wins first national title". September 26, 1938. http://blogs2.startribune.com/blogs/oldnews/archives/115. Retrieved November 18, 2008.
- Kalb, Elliott (2006). Who's Better, Who's Best in Golf?. McGraw-Hill. pp. 237–240. ISBN 9780071469777.
- Official LPGA Biography.
[edit | edit source]
|This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).|