Patty Berg (1918 - )
Born Minneapolis, USA, Berg is remembered as one of the leading lady golfers during the 1950s and 1960s. She won 15 Majors and was a founder member of the LPGA in 1948.
Berg took up golf when she was 13. In 1934, aged 16, she won the Minneapolis City Championship. That was the first of 29 victories during an illustrious amateur career. She won her first Major, the Titleholders, in 1937. She played in the Curtis Cup in 1936 and 1938. In the latter year, still an amateur, she was nominated Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press (and again in 1943 and 1955).
She turned professional in 1940. Her career was interrupted by a car crash a year later. When war broke out in 1942, she joined the navy and served as a lieutenant in the Marine Corps until 1945. After the war, she helped to set up the LPGA in 1948 and became it's first president. She continued to compete and perhaps the 1950s were the prime of her professional career.
Amongst her many victories during the 1950s were three Western Opens and two Titleholders. She also topped the money list between 1954 and 1957. In all, Berg won 57 tournaments on the LPGA tour.
Berg never stopped played golf and continued to enjoy the game into her seventies. She set up and taught at golf clinics all over the world. In later life she contracted several illnesses including cancer and various back and hip problems. However, with treatment she managed to overcome and recover, thus earning the 1975 Ben Hogan award.
Among her numerous awards are the 1963 Bobby Jones Award for outstanding sportsmanship. The LPGA honoured her by establishing the Patty Berg Award in 1978 which is given to the lady golfer who has made the greatest contribution to women's golf during the year.
Berg certainly was a giant amongst golfers, male or female. Her career sets an example to sportsmen and sportswomen everywhere. We remember her for her great talent and life long dedication to the game.