The Cognizant Founders Cup is a unique tournament that celebrates the past, present, and future of the LPGA Tour. As excitement for the tournament builds at the Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell, NJ, this year’s tournament will feature three LPGA Pioneers and one of the two surviving original 13 LPGA Founders. These living legends will be watching the Cognizant Founders Cup from the Founders Perch.
Nancy Lopez is one of the most recognizable names in women’s golf, having won nine tournaments—five of them in a row—during her first year on the LPGA Tour alone. Throughout her professional career, she has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, won the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average, LPGA Rookie of the Year, LPGA Player of the Year and was named the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year.
Birthdate: 1951, South Africa
Rookie Year: 1972
LPGA Victories: 15
LPGA Earnings: $1,908,098
Sally Little began playing at just 12 years old with her father. By the age of 17, Sally had claimed more than a dozen regional and national amateur titles. She had a wildly successful 30-year career on the LPGA Tour and joined the Legends Tour for a while before trying her hand at golf course design, creating the Kingswood Golf Estate in Garden Route, South Africa.
Since being named Rookie-of-the-Year in 1962, Mary Mills has had a successful and consistent career on the LPGA Tour. She has won nine events, including three major championships: the U.S. Open and the LPGA Championship twice. After leaving the Tour and earning a Master’s Degree in landscape architecture, she has been spending her days designing golf courses and teaching golf.
In addition to being one of the 13 original LPGA Founders, Shirley Spork was also one of the primary founders of the LPGA’s Teaching Division, the LPGA Professionals, in 1959. She had an impressive competitive career, but quickly became known as the LPGA’s resident “trick-shot artist” with her ability to wow the crowds with her golf shots while out on the fairway.
In remembrance and celebration of the LPGA’s past, get to know the remaining LPGA Founders and the impact they each made on the game.
Birthdate: 1927, South Dakota
Rookie Year: 1950
Career Earnings: $26,156
Alice Bauer, sister to fellow LPGA founder Marlene Bauer Hagge, was one of the first “moms on tour” and brought her two children along with her to tournaments. While she never had a win during her time on the LPGA Tour, she finished 14th on the LPGA’s season money list in 1956.