No figure in women’s golf spanned as many eras or did as much for her sport as Patty Berg.
Berg was all things to women’s golf-a superb player, a great promoter, a wonderful teacher, a charismatic personality. And her gift has been measured over a long period of time. Berg won her first professional event in 1941, in the infancy of women’s pro golf, and her last in 1962. But even after cancer surgery in 1971, Berg was still competing at the age of 62 in 1980. Hip replacement surgery later that year finally ended her competitive career.
In all, Berg won 60 professional events, including the first U.S. Women’s Open in 1946 (the only time it was played as match play), the Western Open seven times and Titleholders four times. What made these totals even more remarkable is that for the entire prime of her professional career Berg was competing while carrying a full schedule of exhibitions and clinics. Several years before her passing in 2006 she estimated that she had given more than 10,000 all over the world.
For Berg, golf was a high calling. One of her rules was: “Don’t think you really win until you live up to that high thing within you that makes you do your best, no matter what.”