The J.M. Smucker Company Honored With Commissioner's Award For 20-Year Support of LPGA Child Development Center
Lopez, Gustafson, Miyazato, Clark also receive accolades at Rolex Awards Celebration
NAPLES, FLORIDA, Nov. 16, 2012 – In addition to honoring the Rolex Player of the Year and Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year, the LPGA on Friday recognized three additional players, a teaching professional and a longtime sponsor at the annual Rolex Awards Celebration at The Ritz Carlton Golf Resort in Naples.
LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan tonight awarded the Commissioner's Award to longtime LPGA partner The J.M. Smucker Company. Introduced in 1991 by the LPGA, the Commissioner's Award honors a person or organization who has contributed uniquely to the LPGA and its members, who has furthered the cause of women's golf, and whose character and standards are of the highest order. Previous award recipients have included Karsten and Louise Solheim; Jamie Farr; the LPGA Founders; and Rolex.
"The LPGA Tour is built on the back of true heroes in the corporate world that have given the LPGA's stars the opportunity to play across the globe for many years," said Whan. "The J.M. Smucker Company definitely belongs in our group of heroes alongside companies like Rolex and people like Jamie Farr, Karsten Solheim, David Foster and W.R. Howell who have lifted the LPGA to new levels."
A partner of the LPGA for two decades, Smucker's supports the Tour's Child Development Center which enables Mom's on Tour to continue their golf careers while traveling with their children. Smucker's expanded upon their existing relationship with the LPGA Tour to form Team Smucker's Uncrustables which consists of 15 Moms on Tour who act as ambassadors for the Uncrustables brand, the official peanut butter and jelly sandwich of the LPGA Tour.
"Our Company has been honored to be associated with the LPGA for over 20 years and we are pleased the LPGA Child Development Center has touched the lives of so many players and their families," said Maribeth Badertscher, Vice President, Corporate Communications. "We are humbled to be recognized with the Commissioner's Award."
Lopez Receives Patty Berg Award
LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame member Nancy Lopez is the recipient of the 2012 Patty Berg Award in recognition of her many contributions to women's golf. The award, instituted in 1978 by the LPGA Board of Directors and first awarded in 1979, is named in honor of the LPGA Founder and Hall of Famer Patty Berg.
"I just thought the world of Patty Berg," said Lopez. "I am so honored to receive an award named after her. She was such a wonderful ambassador for the LPGA. I hope I can always do the same to represent this great tour."
During her rookie season in 1978, Lopez instantly left her mark inside the ropes becoming the only female to win LPGA Rookie of the Year, Player of the Year, and the Vare Trophy in the same season. She then went on to recorded 48 wins including three major championships and was a member of the 1990 U.S. Solheim Cup team and was the captain of the 2005 squad.
Lopez's accomplishments inside the ropes are well known, as is her friendly demeanor and engaging personality off the links. She was the recipient of the USGA's 1998 Bob Jones Award which recognizes distinguished sportsmanship in the game of golf and also became the first woman to receive the Frances Ouimet Award for Lifelong Contributions to Golf, she was the recipient of the 2006 ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award given by the GWAA to a professional golfer for cooperation, quotability and accommodation to the media.
Gustafson, Miyazato Voted Winners by Peers
LPGA players voted on two awards and selected Sophie Gustafson as the winner of the Heather Farr Perseverance Award and Ai Miyazato the winner of the William & Mousie Powell Award.
Fifteen-year LPGA Tour veteran and Sweden native Sophie Gustafson has lived with a speech impediment since childhood. It wasn't until last year's Solheim Cup that Gustafson participated in her first-ever television interview with Golf Channel. Since her courageous interview, Gustafson has opened up to the media about her stuttering to spread the word about the speech impediment.
"I'm very honored and humbled to be given this award from my peers," Gustafson said of winning the award. "To be able to get the word out there about stuttering is immensely important and I'm very happy I gotten the opportunity to do so.
The Heather Farr Player award honors an LPGA player who, through her hard work, dedication and love of the game of golf, has demonstrated determination, perseverance and spirit in fulfilling her goals as a player. The LPGA established the award in 1994 to celebrate the life of Farr, an LPGA Tour player who died on Nov. 20, 1993, following a four-and-a-half-year battle with breast cancer. Past winners of this award include: Heather Farr, Shelley Hamlin, Martha Nause, Terry-Jo Myers, Lorie Kane, Nancy Scranton, Brandi Burton, Kris Tschetter, Kim Williams, Beth Daniel, Colleen Walker, Amy Read, Se Ri Pak and Leta Lindley.
Nine-time LPGA Tour winner Ai Miyazato is the recipient of the William and Mousie Powell Award which is given to an LPGA member who, in the opinion of her playing peers, by her behavior and deeds, best exemplifies the spirits, ideals and values of the LPGA.
A star on the JLPGA prior to joining the LPGA Tour in 2006, Miyazato recorded seven top-10 finishes in her rookie season. Three years later she became a Rolex First-Time Winner at the 2009 Evian Masters defeating Sophie Gustafson in a one-hole sudden-death playoff. The next season, Miyazato captured five victories and held the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings for 11 weeks.
A native of Okinawa Japan, Miyazato joined forces with fellow Japanese LPGA Tour members Mika Miyazato and Momoko Ueda to set up a fundraising website to help their country recover from the devastating earthquake in 2011. In addition to the nonprofit relief organization, the trio of players designed buttons with "Makeruna Nippon," or "Never Give Up Japan."
"I am truly honored to be named the winner of this prestigious award," said Miyazato. "The LPGA is made up of many players from around the world with diverse personalities and styles, which makes this tour so original and appealing. So I feel that each player on tour contributes to presenting the LPGA in its current positive image and feel that I am just one of them. However, it feels special to get voted on by my peers and I feel very proud to receive the award. I will continue to do the best I can to represent the LPGA and show why it's different out here."
The late Mousie Powell, for whom this award was named, was a close supporter and friend of the LPGA from the 1950s until her death on Jan. 18, 1997. She was married to William Powell, a Hollywood legend and one of its leading male actors. Mousie, who was also featured in movies during that time, started the William and Mousie Award in 1986. Past recipients include: Kathy Whitworth, Nancy Lopez, Pat Bradley, Betsy King, Juli Inkster, and Lorena Ochoa.