Kathy Whitworth

Half a century ago, in an era before graphite clubs, corporate sponsorships, and network TV coverage, Kathy Whitworth was a pioneer in women’s golf. Born in the West Texas town of Monahans and raised in Jal, New Mexico, she gravitated to the sport as a child, turned pro at nineteen under the guidance of legendary teacher Harvey Penick, and went on to a milestone-filled career: Whitworth was the first woman to earn $1 million as a touring pro, and she holds the record for the most wins—88—on both the men’s and the women’s U.S. tours. These days the 61-year-old lives in the Dallas suburb of Flower Mound. She gives golf lessons locally, travels the country to lead golf clinics and make personal appearances, and writes the occasional piece for Golf for Women magazine. And, modesty aside, she enjoys her continuing status as an icon of her sport. Recently, Women’s Golf Unlimited put her name, rather than that of a current pro, on a set of its clubs. “She’d be like the female Tiger Woods today,” says Jay Black, the curator of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, which inducted her in 1982. Actually, you might say that Tiger is the male Kathy Whitworth.

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