26 Dec 2022

LPGA icon Kathy Whitworth dies at 83

9:52 am on 26 December 2022

Legendary Kathy Whitworth, who owns the most victories in LPGA history, has died, the tour announced.

Kathy Whitworth.

Photo: LPGA

Whitworth, 83, died suddenly while celebrating Christmas Eve with family and friends, according to long-time partner Bettye Odle.

"Kathy left this world the way she lived her life, loving, laughing and creating memories," Odle said through the LPGA Tour.

Whitworth won 88 tournaments and finished second 93 times during her Hall of Fame career from 1958-85.

Whitworth recorded six major titles, including the Women's PGA Championship on three occasions. She also finished second in the 1971 U.S. Women's Open.

"The golf world and the world in general lost one of its most incredible women with the passing of Kathy Whitworth," LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcous Samaan said in a news release. "Kathy was a champion in the truest sense of the word, both on the golf course and off.

"In the short time I spent with Kathy, I was truly blown away by her and her approach to the game and to life. Her strength, insightfulness and vibrancy were obvious from the minute you met her! She inspired me as a young girl and now as the commissioner and I know she did the same for so many others. We all mourn with Bettye, her family and the entire golf world."

Whitworth was named LGPA Player of the Year seven times in an eight-season span from 1967-73. She also was the leading money winner 10 times and was the first LPGA player to top $1 million in career earnings.

Whitworth earned her first career victory at the Kelly Girls Open in Maryland in July 1962. Her final win came at the United Virginia Bank Classic in May 1985.

She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1975.