Louise Suggs, an LPGA founder and among the best women to ever play with 61 wins and 11 majors, died Friday. She was 91.
The LPGA Tour said she died in a hospice in Sarasota, Florida, of natural causes.
Suggs was perhaps the most influential player in LPGA history. Along with being one of the 13 founders in 1950, she served as LPGA president three times and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame and the LPGA Teach and Professional Hall of Fame.
“I feel like the LPGA lost a parent,” Commissioner Mike Whan said. “But I’m extremely confident that her vision, her competitiveness, and most importantly her spirit, will be with this organization forever.”
The LPGA Tour rookie of the year award is named after Suggs. She won every season of her professional career and was the first player to capture the career Grand Slam at the 1957 LPGA Championship.
She finished her career with $190,251 in earnings. Her efficient, powerful swing marked her for greatness as a teenager in Georgia. She began to get national acclaim when she won the 1947 U.S. Women’s Amateur, the 1948 Women’s British Amateur and the 1949 U.S. Women’s Open, beating fierce rival Babe Zaharias by 14 shots.
Ben Hogan once said after watching Suggs swing that her swing “combines all the desirable elements of efficiency, timing and coordination.”
“It appears to be completely effortless,” Hogan said. “Yet despite her slight build, she is consistently as long off the tee and through the fairway as any of her feminine contemporaries in competitive golf.”
Bob Hope once nicknamed her “Miss Sluggs” for how far she could hit the ball.
Born in Atlanta on Sept. 7, 1923, she began playing golf on the Lithia Springs golf course that her father managed.
Suggs retired in 1962 from competition, but not from the LPGA Tour.
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