Patty Berg

Published on   2023-03-09 by Kai

Patty Berg (* February 13, 1918 in Minneapolis, Minnesota/USA as Patricia Jane Berg; † September 10, 2006 in Fort Myers, Florida/USA) was a founding member and first president of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).

She was the leading female golfer of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. She still holds the all-time record for all women golfers with her 15 major titles.

Won first amateur title in 1934

Patty Berg attended the University of Minnesota and was a member of the American Women's Student Association, Kappa Kappa Gamma (ΚΚΓ). She began playing golf in 1931, and by 1934 had already won her first amateur title: the Minneapolis City Championship.

In 1935, she attracted attention when she reached the final of the U.S. Women's Amateur, losing only to Glenna Collett Vare.

Professional since 1940

Patty Berg won the Titleholders Championship at Westmoreland Country Club in Wilmette, a Professional-Major tournament, as an amateur in 1937, 1938 and 1939.

After winning 29 amateur titles, Patty Berg became a Professional in 1940. At that time, there were still fewer than ten female professional golfers.

Injured in car accident

Shortly thereafter, she was seriously injured in a car accident on her left knee. After her leg was straightened twice, she recovered within 18 months at a boxing camp.

During World War II, Patty Berg was a lieutenant in the Navy (1942-1945). In 1948 she participated in the creation of the LPGA and became its first president (1950-1952).

57 tour victories

Patty Berg won a total of 57 titles on the LPGA and WPGA Tours, finishing second in the 1957 Open at Winged Foot and runner-up in the 1956 and 1959 LPGA Championship.

In 1946, she won the first U.S Women's Open tournament and won another eleven Professional Major tournaments through 1958: the Women's Western Open in 1941, 1943, 1948, 1951, 1955, 1957 and 1958; the Titleholders Championship in 1948, 1953,1955 and 1957.

During the U.S. Women's Open at Churchill Valley Country Club in Pittsburgh in 1959, she became the first woman to shoot a hole-in-one in a USGA tournament. Her last victory came in 1962, when she became the first woman to earn more than $100,000 in her career.

In 1963, in recognition of her contributions, Patty Berg was awarded the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor given by the United States Golf Association.

World Golf Hall of Fame

She received the Old Tom Morris Award, also their highest honor, from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) in 1986. In 1974, Patty Berg was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame and in 1980 was inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame as a (sports) pioneer.

In 1978, the LPGA endowed the Patty Berg Award, given to individuals who exemplify "diplomacy, sportsmanship, goodwill and the promotion of the sport of golf." In 1990, Patty Berg herself received this award.

Promoter after active career

Even after her active career, she remained connected to the sport of golf and was particularly concerned with the promotion of young talent.

Throughout her professional career, Patty Berg was supported by Joe Jemsek, owner of the famous Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Illinois.

10,000 Training Courses Conducted

Patty conducted training courses at many golf academies throughout the world, by her own estimate more than 10,000.

Patty Berg also always played golf with her friends and continued to enjoy golf in her old age. In December 2004, Patty Berg announced that she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She died 21 months later at the age of 88 from the consequences of this disease in Fort Myers (Florida).

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