Wed, 15 Jul 2020

LPGA pioneer, legend Wright dies at age 85

Field Level Media
18 Feb 2020, 08:40 GMT+10

Mickey Wright, one of pioneering players on the women's professional golf circuit, died Monday. She was 85.

The cause of death was a heart attack, the Associated Press reported.

Wright won 13 women's majors during her career, ranking second only to Patty Berg's 15. Her 82 LPGA titles are also second, trailing only Kathy Whitworth's 88.

According to Whitworth, though, there was no one better than Wright.

"She was the best I've ever seen, man or woman," Whitworth once told ESPN, via GolfChannel.com. "I've had the privilege of playing with Sam Snead and Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer and all of them. Nobody hit it like Mickey, just nobody. She had 82 wins, but she would have won over 100 with no trouble if she had stayed on tour."

One of the first six members of the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame when it was created in 1967, Wright was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1976.

"We are deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Mickey Wright," LPGA commissioner Michael Whan said in a statement. "We lost a legend, but we may also have lost the best swing in golf history today. Our thoughts are with her family and friends."

Wright, who was born in San Diego on Feb. 14, 1935, joined the LPGA in 1955, and went on to become a four-time winner of the U.S. Women's Open.

By the age of 31 in 1966, she had won 70 tournaments. In 1999, the Associated Press named Wright the Female Golfer of the Century.

"I'm not a gut-level, gritty competitor in any way," Wright had told author Liz Kahn, via GolfChannel.com. "Perfection motivated me, doing it better than anyone had ever done it, just as simply as that. I would practice for hours and hours. I beat balls and beat balls and beat balls."

Her experience as a full-time player on the tour ended in 1969, when foot injuries and other physical problems -- including an increasingly poor reaction to sunlight -- forced her to cut back.

--Field Level Media

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