There. It happened again.
That beautiful, crystal-clear choral note of “AWE” when mentioning something “other worldly”.
Okay so maybe I’m exaggerating – but only slightly. Wright and Whitworth are LPGA Tour royalty. Just saying those two names gives one pause. But imagine these competitors coming to the LPGA Tour at the same time. Holy Birdie Barrage Batman!, to pull a line that only a child of the 60s will get.
The golf community was about to witness history in the making for the next 20 years.
These two players dominated the LPGA Tour from Kennedy’s election to the Age of Aquarius.
They combined for 121 victories in the 60s (Wright – 68, Whitworth – 53) and nine Vare Trophies between 1960 and 1969. Wright set a record for most wins in a season which still stands today with 13 (1963), and Whitworth captured 35 of her 53 victories in just four years (1965-68).
Despite their greatness, Mickey Wright and Kathy Whitworth weren’t the only players making a statement on the golf course. If those two weren’t winning, Carol Mann and Sandra Haynie were. Mann captured her first title in 1964 and went on to win 28 (of her career total 38) titles in this decade while Haynie collected 17 of her 42 career wins in the 60s. And others like Betsy Rawls, who had joined the Tour in the 50s, continued to win in the 60s, capturing her fourth U.S. Women’s Open title at the start of the decade.
These future Hall of Famers were putting the LPGA Tour on the map and letting the world know that serious competition was happening out here.
There could be no doubt about the strong statement that the LPGA Tour was making on the golf course. Off the course, the LPGA was making an equally strong statement on the social and civil rights issues of the day.
The color barrier in women’s professional golf was broken in 1963 when two-time Wimbledon champion Althea Gibson became the first African American to join the LPGA Tour. Four years later Renee Powell followed in her footsteps.