By The 2017 European Solheim Cup Captain, Annika
I was just looking through my Colonial scrap book. It’s where I keep all my letters, notes and clippings from my life-changing PGA Tour experience in 2003. It brings back a flood of memories and it’s really cool to see people from so many different walks of life wishing me good luck.
As I turned through the pages, there was one letter in particular that caught my eye. It’s this note from Patty Berg (see below). Yes, that’s right, the one and only LPGA legend Patty Berg. One of the leading players, male or female, in golf’s great history. After an accomplished amateur career, Patty turned professional and racked up 60 wins. They included 15 major championships, a record that will be very difficult for anyone to surpass. Like Ben Hogan, she was involved in a car accident that almost ended her career, but true to her competitive spirit and tremendous passion for the game, she didn’t let it stop her.
Patty was one of the 13 original founders of the LPGA. This group of extremely driven and talented trailblazers wouldn’t let anything get in the way of their dream to play professional golf. They were like vagabonds, traveling in their cars from city to city to showcase their talents. Many times they would sleep in the car, and fine dining was very rare. Although they didn’t play for a lot of money, their pioneering ways were the beginning of something very big.
More than 60 years later, the LPGA has evolved into a global tour with events on top-rated and immaculately-conditioned courses, TV coverage beamed into millions of living rooms, and purses Patty and friends would find difficult to comprehend.
Next week is the Founders Cup, the LPGA’s first 2017 event on U.S. soil. Was it merely an accident that this letter grabbed my attention, or was it fate? Whatever the reason, I’m glad it did. It was a timely reminder of the efforts and sacrifices made decades ago that have benefitted all the players who followed in Patty and the other founders’ footsteps. They started something they dreamed about and, thanks to them, we are now living our dream.