Who's who in golf - Babe Zaharias


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Name: - Mildred Ella "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias
Country: - USA
Lived : - 1911-1956. Born June 26, 1911 in Port Arthur, Texas / died Sept 27, 1956 in Galveston, Texas, aged 45.
Original Home/Club: - Beaumont, Texas.
Occupation: - Professional golfer, Olympic athlete (track & field), golf writer, singer, actress, golf writer and golf administrator.
Turned Pro: - 1947

Roll of Honour

Majors (10), including a "grand slam" of all three major championships that women competed for in 1950. US Women's Amateur champion (1946) and British Ladies Amateur champion (1947). Total professional wins (48), of which US LPGA Tour (41). LPGA Tr leading money winner (1950, '51). World Golf Hall of Fame (inducted in 1951).


Did you know?

"Olympic athlete" is not perhaps a description that applies to many golfers. But it most surely fitted Babe Zaharias. Competing as Babe Didrikson, she won Olympic Gold in both the javelin and hurdles in the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. She was also an All-American basketball player while in college.

She took up golf at the age of 21, and quickly established a natural ability that saw her become the most famous female golfer of the late-1940s and early '50s. Outdriving most men from the tee was just one of her golfing talents. While touring in California in 1938, she met her future husband, a professional wrestler named George Zaharias. In that same year, at the Los Angeles Open, Zaharias became the first woman to compete in a men's PGA Tour event (long before Annika Sorenstam and Michelle Wie tested their skills against the men).

During an incredible career, her many golfing achievements included winning 17 straight amateur tournaments, as well as a total of 41 LPGA Tour events. The first four of her major championship wins came as an amateur, while in 1950 she won a "grand slam" of all three events that carried "Major" status at that time. She was a founding member of the LPGA, which was launched in 1950. Zaharias died of cancer in 1956 aged 45. Her autobiography entitled "This Life I've Led," gives some insights into the many, varied and extraordinary achievements of this very extraordinary person.


Top tournaments won by Babe Zaharias

1955Wmn AmericaPeach Blossom Open293$1,000
Played as the Peach Blossom Open. Second-placed Marilynn Smith finished 2 shots behind Zaharias.
1955Wmn AmericaTampa Open298$1,000
Played as the Tampa Open. Second-placed Louise Suggs finished 1 shot behind Zaharias.
1954Wmn AmericaAmerican Women's Open294$1,000
Played as the All-American Open. Second-placed Louise Suggs finished 8 shots behind Zaharias.
1954Wmn AwardsLow Stroke Ave - LPGA75.48n/a
Zaharias (USA) won the Vare Trophy, recording the season's lowest scoring average on the LPGA Tour.
1954Wmn AmericaSarasota Open223$875
Played as the Sarasota Open. Patty Berg and Louise Suggs finished 9 shots behind Zaharias.
1954Wmn AmericaSerbin Open294$1,200
Played as the Serbin Open. Second-placed Patty Berg finished 1 shot behind Zaharias.
1954Wmn MajorsUS Women's OpenSalem CC291 (+3)$2,000
The US Women's Open (9th). Second-placed Betty Hicks (USA) finished 12 shots behind Zaharias (USA). [Salem CC, Peabody, Mass.].
1953Wmn AmericaBabe Zaharias Open217$875
Played as the Babe Zaharias Open. Second-placed Louise Suggs finished 1 shot behind Zaharias.
1953Wmn AmericaSarasota Open217$875
Played as the Sarasota Open. Second-placed Betsy Rawls finished 7 shots behind Zaharias.
1952Wmn AmericaFresno Open226x
Played as the Fresno Open. Second-placed Marilynn Smith finished 3 shots behind Zaharias.
1952Team EventsOrlando Mixed Foursomexx
Played as the Orlando Mixed Foursome. Winning team : Babe Zaharias & Al Besselink. Second-placed team : Anderson & Chapman.
1952Wmn AmericaTexas Open (LPGA)7 & 6$300
Played as the Women's Texas Open. Polly Riley finished in second place behind Zaharias.
1952Wmn MajorsTitleholders Ch'shipAugusta CC299 (+11)$1000
The Titleholders Championship (13th). Second-placed Betsy Rawls (USA) finished 7 shots behind Zaharias (USA). [Augusta CC, Augusta, GA].
1952Wmn AmericaWeathervane (Miami)145
Played as the Miami Weathervane. Second-placed Betty Jameson (USA) and Louise Suggs (USA) finished 5 shots behind Zaharias.
1951Wmn AmericaAmerican Women's Open298x
Played as the All-American Women's Open. Patty Berg finished in second place behind Zaharias.
1951Wmn AwardsMoney Winner - LPGA Tr$15,807see Score
Zaharias (USA) won her second straight LPGA Tour Money List, with 1951 season earnings of $15,807 on the Tour. For the second straight year Patty Berg (USA) was second on the money list.
1951Team EventsOrlando Mixed Foursome6 & 5x
Played as the Orlando Florida Two-Ball. Winning team of Babe Zaharias & George Bolesta beat Alice Bauer & Pete Cooper 6 and 5 in the 36-hole final.
1951Wmn AmericaRichmond Open (LPGA)224x
Played as the Richmond Women's Open. Second-placed Louise Suggs finished 1 shot behind Zaharias.
1951Wmn AmericaTampa Open223x
Played as the Tampa Women's Open. Second-placed Louise Suggs finished 7 shots behind Zaharias.
1951Wmn AmericaTexas Open (LPGA)xx
Played as the Women's Texas Open.
1951Wmn AmericaValley Open225x
Played as the Valley Open. Second-placed Patty Berg finished 6 shots behind Zaharias.
1951Wmn AmericaWeathervane (Dallas)Lakewood CC149
Played as the Dallas Weathervane. Second-placed Patty Berg (USA) finished 4 shots behind Zaharias (USA). [Lakewood CC, Dallas, TX].
1951Wmn AmericaWeathervane (Indianapolis)145
Played as the Indianapolis Weathervane. Patty Berg (USA) finished in second place behind Zaharias (USA).
1951Wmn AmericaWorld Championship (LPGA)Tam O'Shanter CC295
Played as the World Championship of Women's Golf. Second-placed Betsy Rawls (USA) finished 10 shots behind Zaharias (USA), who won this event for the fourth straight year. [Tam O'Shanter CC, Niles, nr Chicago, IL. Now the municipal Tam O'Shanter Golf Course].
1950Wmn AmericaAmerican Women's Open296x
Played as the All-American Women's Open. Second-placed Patty Berg finished 10 shots behind Zaharias.
1950Wmn AwardsMoney Winner - LPGA Tr$14,800see Score
Zaharias (USA) won the inaugural LPGA Tour Money List, with 1950 season earnings of $14,800 on the Tour. Patty Berg (USA) was second on the money list.
1950Wmn MajorsTitleholders Ch'shipAugusta CC298 (+10)$700
The Titleholders Championship (11th). Second-placed Clare Doran (USA, amateur) finished 8 shots behind Zaharias (USA). [Augusta CC, Augusta, GA].
1950Wmn MajorsUS Women's OpenRolling Hills CC, KS291 (-9)$1,500
The US Women's Open (5th). Second-placed Betsy Rawls (USA, amateur) finished 9 shots behind Zaharias (USA). [Rolling Hills CC, Wichita, Kansas].
1950Wmn AmericaWeathervane (Cleveland)145
Played as the Cleveland Weathervane. Second-placed Patty Berg (USA) finished 8 shots behind Zaharias (USA).
1950Wmn AmericaWeathervane (Pebble Beach)158
Played as the Pebble Beach Weathervane. Second-placed Patty Berg (USA) finished 2 shots behind Zaharias (USA).
1950Wmn AmericaWeathervane 144
Zaharias (USA) was overall winner of the 1950 Cross Country 144-hole Weathervane Tournament, which was played as four two-round events in Chicago, Cleveland, New York and Pebble Beach. She won the Cleveland and Pebble Beach events.
1950Wmn MajorsWomen's Western OpenCherry Hills CC5 & 3$500
The Women's Western Open (21st). Zaharias (USA) beat Peggy Kirk (USA) 5 and 3 in the final. [Cherry Hills CC, Englewood, nr Denver, CO].
1950Wmn AmericaWorld Championship (LPGA)Tam O'Shanter CC293
Played as the World Championship of Women's Golf. Second-placed Patty Berg (USA) finished 7 shots behind Zaharias (USA), who won this event for the third straight year. [Tam O'Shanter CC, Niles, nr Chicago, IL. Now the municipal Tam O'Shanter Golf Course].
1949Wmn AmericaWorld Championship (LPGA)Tam O'Shanter CC
Played as the World Championship of Women's Golf. Won by defending champion Zaharias (USA). [Tam O'Shanter CC, Niles, nr Chicago, IL. Now the municipal Tam O'Shanter Golf Course].
1948Wmn MajorsUS Women's OpenAtlantic City CC300 (E)$1,200
The US Women's Open (3rd). Second-placed Betty Hicks (USA) finished 8 shots behind Zaharias (USA). [Atlantic City CC, Northfield, NJ].
1948Wmn AmericaWorld Championship (LPGA)Tam O'Shanter CC
Played as the inaugural World Championship of Women's Golf. Won by Zaharias (USA). [Tam O'Shanter CC, Niles, nr Chicago, IL. Now the municipal Tam O'Shanter Golf Course].
1947Wmn AmateurBritish Amateur (Ladies)Gullane5 & 4n/a
The Ladies' British Open Amateur Championship (44th). Zaharias (USA) beat Jacqueline Gordon (Eng) 5 and 4 in the final. [No.1 course, Gullane GC, Gullane, East Lothian].
1947Wmn MajorsTitleholders Ch'shipAugusta CC304 (+4)amateur
The Titleholders Championship (8th). Second-placed Dorothy Kirby (USA, amateur) finished 5 shots behind Zaharias (USA, amateur). [Augusta CC, Augusta, GA].
1946Wmn AmateurUS Amateur (Women)Southern Hills11 & 9n/a
The US Women's Amateur Championship (46th). Zaharias (USA) beat Clara Sherman (USA) 11 & 9 in the final. [Southern Hills CC, Tulsa, Oklahoma].
1945Wmn MajorsWomen's Western OpenHighland G&CC4 & 2amateur
The Women's Western Open (16th). For the second straight year Zaharias (USA, amateur) beat Dorothy Germain (USA, amateur) in the final; this time by 4 and 2. [Highland G&CC, Indianapolis, Indiana].
1944Wmn MajorsWomen's Western OpenPark Ridge CC7 & 5amateur
The Women's Western Open (15th). Zaharias (USA, amateur) beat Dorothy Germain (USA, amateur) by 7 and 5 in the final. [Park Ridge CC, Park Ridge, nr Chicago, IL].
1940Wmn MajorsWomen's Western OpenBlue Mound5 & 4amateur
The Women's Western Open (11th). Zaharias (USA, amateur) beat Mrs Russell Mann 5 and 4 in the final. [Blue Mound G&CC, Wauwatosa, nr Milwaukee, WI].

 

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