LPGA State Farm Classic and Betsy King honored by the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association
LPGA State Farm Classic receives the Bing Crosby Award; King takes home the Winnie Palmer
The Bing Crosby Tournament Award is presented to an individual or organization that promotes and supports the game of golf through commercial sponsorship of quality events. The LPGA State Farm Classic, one of the longest running events on the LPGA Tour, has continued to thrive and grow since it was founded in 1976 as the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Classic. Powered for years from the support of local businesses, the resilient tournament, renamed the Rail Charity Classic in 1978, successfully ran and prospered for 15 years without a corporate title sponsor until 1993. That year, State Farm Insurance began its 18-year partnership with the event. Through the years, the Classic has donated more than $3 million to local charities throughout the State of Illinois.
The LPGA State Farm Classic celebrates its 35th anniversary this week as In-Kyung Kim defends her title. Last year Kim joined an impressive list of Classic champions, including Nancy Lopez, Pat Bradley, Joanne Carner, Annika Sorenstam and Betsy King. King, who won the Classic three times, held the event so dear that she chose to end her illustrious playing career at the 2005 State Farm Classic.
It was fitting, then, for King to accept the Bing Crosby Tournament Award on behalf of the LPGA State Farm Classic in one hand and accept her own honor, the Winnie Palmer Award, in the other. King, who captured 34 LPGA career titles, proved that a professional golfer can step outside the ropes and make a truly significant impact on the lives of others. After taking a life-changing trip to the African nation of Rwanda, King founded Golf Fore Africa in 2007. Led by King’s dedication and passion, Golf Fore Africa has been able to provide considerable financial and medical assistance to those that need it the most in the village of Mudasomwa in southern Rwanda. Following King’s lead, dozens of LPGA players and staff sponsor children in that village. Named in honor of Winnie Palmer, who devoted much of her life to charity work for literacy programs and health care, the Winnie Palmer Award acknowledges and individual who has consistently given their time, energy and enthusiasm to those less fortunate.
The Metropolitan Golf Writers Association National Awards Dinner is the largest and longest running golf dinner held annually in the United States. Drawing support from golf’s governing bodies, the USGA, PGA Tour, PGA of America, the Champions Tour and the LPGA, the dinner benefits three different Metropolitan area caddie scholarships and the Metropolitan Golf Association Foundation. The MGWA was founded in 1951 and honors achievement and outstanding contributions to the game and promotes golf journalism.