Nancy Lopez (1957 - )
Born California, USA of Mexican stock, Lopez dominated women's golf during the 1970s and 1980s. She is one of the biggest personalities in golf and has endeared herself to golf fans around the world.
Lopez was introduced to golf by her father, Domingo, when she was just 8. She won her first tournament the following year. Just three years later, she won the New Mexico Women's Amateur. Lopez had a very successful amateur career. In 1972 and 1974 she won the USGA Junior Girls. In 1975, she came third in the US Women's Amateur and second in the US Women's Open. Confident of her abilities and armed with her success, she turned professional in 1977.
In 1978, her first full season, she won 8 tournaments including the US LPGA and was nominated Rookie of the Year. She won the US LPGA again in 1985 and 1989. She recorded 49 wins on the PGA tour and represented the USA in the World Cup and Curtis Cup. Throughout her career, she has collected more than US$4.5m in prize money and has earned another from her endorsements and other commercial interests including playing editor of 'Golf' magazine.
Lopez has been likened to Arnold Palmer in the way that she too, has endeared herself to the golf fans. She has a vibrant and extrovert personality which is always attractive and has helped to popularise the women's game. Her strength as a golfer stems from her cool temperament and devastatingly accurate short game. Since marrying in 1986 and subsequently having children, she has devoted more and more time to her family commitments.
She was inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame in 1989 in recognition of her exemplary professional career. Her story is still incomplete but certainly her place in golf's history is assured.