DAYTONA BEACH, FL – Mallory Blackwelder, one of the up-and-coming stars of the Symetra Tour, the Qualifying Tour for the LPGA, has spent every waning moment of her life around golf. On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association announced that the Blackwelders will receive the Family of the Year Award at the 63rd National Awards Dinner on Monday, June 23 at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown, N.Y.
Since 1953, the MGWA has recognized a family for its contributions to the game of golf and for representing the virtues and ideals of golf and family.
Mallory, who has been playing on the Symetra Tour since 2010, recently finished tied for 11th at the Volvik Championship in City of Industry, Calif. She also finished T14 at the first event, the Visit Mesa Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club.
“It’s such a huge honor, there are such big and famous names that have received the award,” said Mallory Blackwelder. “It’s really special for our family.”
The Blackwelders will join an impressive list of families who have been honored; The Turnesas, The Powells, Johnny Farrell, Claude Harmon, Robert Trent Jones, Gary Player, Hollis Stacy, Raymond Floyd, Karsten Solheim, George Bush, Dave Stockton, and Jack Nicklaus.
The 26-year old is tied for 13th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list after two events. The top-10 on the Symetra Tour money list at the conclusion of the year will earn their LPGA Tour cards for the 2015 season.
Myra Blackwelder is the matriarch of this remarkable golf family. Playing 13 years on the LPGA Tour, Myra is a mother of two, wife of a tour caddie, and a renowned teacher who founded the Blackwelder Golf Academy in 2010. The native Kentuckian was the 1980 Rolex LPGA Rookie of the Year, then as Myra Van Hoose. Early in her rookie season, Myra hired caddie Worth Blackwelder. After a few tournaments, both agreed that their relationship was more than player-caddie. They married in 1981.
“When my mom played on tour, my brother (Myles) and I grew up out there so that is all I’ve ever known, tour life,” said Blackwelder. “Tour life seems kind of crazy to people on the outside, but it has always been our norm.”
Mallory, who was four-years-old when her mom left the tour, uses home videos to recall her time spent following her mom.
“We had a motor home, we travelled tournament-to-tournament and at that time the LPGA didn’t have day care so we had a nanny that travelled with us,” said Blackwelder. “It wasn’t a typical childhood, but it was very interesting and Myles (brother) and I learned a lot and it was just a really cool childhood.”
Even though she grew up on a golf course, Mallory wasn’t sure right away that golf was her calling.
“When I was really young I really didn’t like it (golf),” said Blackwelder. “My first tournament was when I was 11 and my parents made me play, but they said ‘give it a chance, we’ll sign you up and if you hate it after the first try, you don’t ever have to do it again’.”
Once Mallory got on the course, she found other girls that were playing the game and then found success.
“By the time I was 13, I realized I was good so then it got in my head that I want to be a professional just like my mom,” said Blackwelder. “In a way, I was kind of destined to play golf; I’ve never known anything else but the life of professional golf.”
Worth Blackwelder, Mallory’s father and a respected professional caddie for 27 years, has worked with Chi Chi Rodriguez, Beth Daniel, Patty Sheehan, Dottie Pepper, Juli Inkster, and most recently, Cristie Kerr. Worth has experienced the thrill of sharing victory with his player 12 times during his distinguished career.
Myles Blackwelder, 29, is also a pro caddie, working for rising star Jodi Ewart Shadoff of England. During the Solheim Cup last August, Myles and his father were on opposing sides with Ewart Shadoff representing Europe and Kerr the United States. When time permits, Myles works at the family business in Versailles, Kentucky– the Blackwelder Golf Academy – where he has helped build a top-caliber junior program.
The Symetra Tour will once again host two tournaments in the state of New York this summer. The Credit Union Challenge in Albany is scheduled for July 25-27 while the Credit Union Classic Presented by Wegmans in Syracuse is slated for August 1-3.
The National Awards Dinner has raised over 1.5 million dollars for Caddie Scholarship programs in the metropolitan New York area; the MGA Foundation; and the Dave Marr Journalism Scholarship at