Current LPGA Players united to pay their respect to former Colgate Palmolive CEO and avid LPGA supporter David Foster.
Players participating in the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic Presented by Kroger and U.S. Women's Open banded together to sign a sympathy card for Foster's daughter, Sara Foster.
Many current players expressed their gratitude towards Foster for his impact and dedication to the LPGA Tour. If it were not for Foster the LPGA's first major of the season, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, might not be played at the prestigious Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, CA.
The LPGA mourns the loss of friend, business partner and one of its biggest fans, David Foster, who recently died at the age of 90.
Foster, former CEO of Colgate Palmolive and an avid supporter of the LPGA and women's sports, joined Colgate Palmolive at a time in which a new marketing strategy was in the works to appeal to their leading consumer females. Initially, Foster focused his efforts on women's tennis, track-and-field and golf, but his love for the game of golf quickly prevailed and he focused solely on the game and the LPGA Tour.
Foster took his love and dedication to the LPGA Tour a step further when he purchased Mission Hills Country Club in Palm Springs, California. He later teamed with Dinah Shore to become the tournament host and invited several celebrities to participate in tournament festivities including a pro-am preceding the event. Mission Hills Country Club still serves as the site of the LPGA Tour's first major championship on the schedule: The Kraft Nabisco Championship.
"David fell in love with the LPGA players and was committed to treating them like stars," recalls LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Carol Mann. "He convinced Dinah Shore to become the tournament's host and she invited her celebrity friends to participate. Foster's support sustained the LPGA during the 1970s. For nearly a decade, David Foster was the LPGA's patron saint until he resigned in 1979."
In addition to the Colgate-Dinah Shore Winner's Circle, Foster was responsible for creating the Colgate Triple Crown. In the 1970s, players competed in the Colgate-Dinah Shore, Colgate European and Colgate Far East Opens to earn enough points to play in the prestigious Colgate Triple Crown. The Colgate Triple Crown was aired on network television which greatly increased exposure of the LPGA Tour.
Foster's continuous effort to establish LPGA tournaments around the world and shine a spotlight on different LPGA players was the beginning of the tour's international presence.
"It is somewhat forgotten what a big part he played in the rise of the LPGA in the ‘70s," says close friend and LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Judy Rankin. "Much of what the players are enjoying today goes back to his vision."
Foster was friendly with many LPGA legends including Rankin, Mann, Kathy Whitworth and Nancy Lopez, among others. He hired several of the top-20 players to appear in television commercials for different Colgate products.
The last time several players got to spend time with Foster was during a reunion in 2008. "For he's a jolly good fellow" was sung by more than 80 former players, volunteers and tournament organizers. Several photos were on hand to commemorate past participation in the Dinah Shore. According to Mann, the highlight of the reunion was being able to say thank you to a man who was among the LPGA's most influential benefactors.
When the LPGA needed a boost, Foster was there to catapult the LPGA onto the professional sports map.