LPGA Tour Commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan joined three legends of golf in paying tribute to Kathy Whitworth, the winningest player in LPGA Tour history, during a special presentation on the PGA Industry Stage Powered by CapTech Thursday as part of the 70th PGA Show.
Whitworth, who amassed 88 LPGA Tour victories and was a runner-up 93 times, was remembered as a gracious but relentless competitor. She was the first woman to reach $1 million in career earnings on the LPGA Tour and became a role model for hundreds of young women professionals, including PGA Hall of Famer and LPGA pioneer Rene Powell, World Golf Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez and past PGA of America President Suzy Whaley.
“As a young girl, I always loved sports and winning. We know the LPGA is full of these women, but remember Kathy led the way,” said Samaan. “Her strengths, her insightfulness, and her vibrancy were available to all of us, and we all loved her.”
“Even though Kathy was such a great golfer, she was also a great human being,” said Renee Powell, a member of the PGA of America Hall of Fame who serves as a PGA Head Professional at Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, Ohio. “She would always take a stand for what was right.”
Whaley said Whitworth “helped guide me in many of my decision-making processes, and always believed in inclusion and helping women and girls in golf.”
World Golf Hall of Famer had something in common other than winning many tournament with Whitworth. Both lived in New Mexico and shared a love of the game.
“What I remember most about Kathy is when I first came on the tour, she accepted me, guided me and cheered for me,” said Lopez. “She wanted me to be the best I could be. She really was all about winning and she would always tell me: Go out and win. She also had a great sense of humor.”
Whitworth passed away on Dec. 24, 2022, at age 83.