Joyce Wethered (1901 - 1997)
Born Devon, England, Wethered is remembered as probably the greatest lady golfer of all time. Her victories include 5 English Amateur and 4 British Ladies Amateur championships.
Wethered grew up in a well to do family in southern England. As a child she often spent her summer holidays at her parent's summer home in Scotland. It was there that she and her brother, Roger, developed their skills as golfers. Roger went on to become a professional and gave Joyce the challenge she needed to develop a competitive game. However she always competed as an amateur.
In 1920, Wethered exploded onto the scene by beating the great Cecil Leitch to win the 1920 English Ladies Championship. Her career lasted only nine years and in that time she won 5 consecutive English Amateur titles and 4 British Ladies titles. Her forte was accuracy and power. Indeed her statistics show that she could have qualified for the men's Walker Cup at the time. The great Bobby Jones commented, "I have never played against anyone and felt so outclassed". Henry Cotton and many others paid tribute to her abilities and her modesty earned her the affection of golf fans. In 1924, she married and became known as Lady Heathcote Amory.
Four years after retiring, she came back to contest the British Ladies primarily for the opportunity to compete against Glenna Colette . No only did she beat Colette, she also won the tournament. Afterwards, she finally retired from competitive golf and became golf manager at Fortune & Mason in London. Earning a living from golf brought her amateur status into question. However Wethered herself settled the issue when in 1935, she played a series of exhibition matches in the US.
Interestingly when she became president of the English LGU in 1954, the R&A re-instated her amateur status thus enabling her to legitimately hold the office. She later retired to Devon.
Wethered is the measure by which the great lady golfers are judged. She is remembered fondly not only because of her success, but for her true dedication to the sport.