Mickey Wright was a professional golfer who is widely considered one of the best in LPGA history. Playing professionally from 1955 until her 1969 retirement, Wright won 13 major championships and 82 LPGA Tour events, including winning four consecutive majors in 1961 and 1962. She was known for her fluid and powerful swing, which some called the best they’d ever seen from any golfer, male or female.
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Died: February 17, 2020 (Who else died on February 17?)
Details of death: Died in Florida of a heart attack at the age of 85.
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Wins and accolades: Wright’s 13 major championship wins were second in LPGA history only to Patty Berg, with 15 majors. And with 82 LPGA Tour wins, she was second only to Kathy Whitworth with 88. She was the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year in 1963 and 1964, and she was honored with the United States Golf Association’s prestigious Bob Jones Award in 2010. In 1999, a six-member panel assembled by the Associated Press voted Wright the best women’s golfer of the 20th century, and in 2009, Golf magazine’s poll of experts ranked her the all-time best female golfer. Wright was a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and the PGA of America Hall of Fame.
Notable quote: “There’s got to be golf in heaven. I hope I get there and it’s just me and my 2-iron. Or maybe a couple of angels will be looking on. Everything will look like Sea Island Golf Club did in the old days, sedate and beautiful. I’ll be facing that shot to a well-trapped green again, trying to duplicate that shot from 1957. If it’s really heaven, I’ll pull it off.” —from a 2017 interview with Golf Digest
What people said about her: “She was the best I’ve ever seen, man or woman. I’ve had the privilege of playing with Sam Snead and Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer and all of them. And some of our ladies had wonderful golf swings. But nobody hit it like Mickey, just nobody.” —LPGA star Kathy Whitworth
“She sort of revolutionized golf for us because she was so good and her swing was so perfect. Even though we were competitors, she was a joy to watch.” —LPGA star Betsy Rawls
“We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Mickey Wright. We lost a legend, but we may also have lost the best swing in golf history today. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.” —LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan
“The PGA of America is deeply saddened by the passing of Mickey Wright, who will forever be one of the greatest to play our game. Her swing put the greats in awe & we are forever thankful for her efforts to advance women’s golf.” —PGA of America
Full obituary: The New York Times