"Betty loved golf and wanted nothing more than to play the game for a living," said LPGA Commissioner Carolyn F. Bivens. "She found 12 other kindred spirits and formed the LPGA. This endeavor required a passion and drive for the singular purpose of creating an association that afforded women the chance for a career in professional golf. She succeeded. As a result of Betty's elegant ambition, generations of women have benefited from her dedication, vision and sacrifice. We are very sorry to lose her. At the same time we celebrate her life and her remarkable spirit."
Born May 9, 1919, in Norman, Okla., Jameson first appeared atop the leaderboard at age 13 with a Texas Publinx title in 1932. She went on to win a Southern Championship at age 15 and back-to-back U.S. Women's Amateur titles in 1939-40. She later won the 1942 Western Open for her first major title, and completed her stellar amateur career with 14 victories.
The blond-haired, brown-eyed Jameson turned professional in 1945, and quickly gained popularity as one of golf's first "glamour girls." Her 72-hole total of 295 at the 1947 U.S. Women's Open was the first sub-300 score ever recorded by a woman.
Jameson joined the LPGA at its inception in 1950, when she became one of the organization's 13 founders. The founders were involved in all aspects of professional golf - they played, organized tournaments, established rules and by-laws and supervised membership.
Jameson later conceived the idea of an annual award for the LPGA scoring average leader, and in 1952 donated a trophy for that purpose in the name of Glenna Collett Vare. The Vare Trophy is still awarded annually, and the list of winners is a virtual Who's Who of women's golf, including Kathy Whitworth (seven-time winner), Mickey Wright (five-time winner), Annika Sorenstam (six-time winner) and JoAnne Carner (five-time winner). Jameson won her third and final major at the 1954 Western Open, and notched four wins in 1955. She finished her career with 13 victories.
Jameson was inducted to the Hall of Fame of Women's Golf in 1951, and became one of six inaugural members of the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame in 1967 (the LPGA Hall of Fame chose to recognize 1951 as the retroactive date of her induction). She also is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the Women's Sports Foundation Hall of Fame in 1991, and was recognized during the LPGA's 50th Anniversary in 2000 as one of the LPGA's top 50 players and teachers. Jameson and the 12 other LPGA Founders were honored in 2000 with the Commissioner's Award in recognition of their role in furthering the cause of women's golf.
Service details are still being arranged. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The LPGA Foundation, 100 International Golf Drive, Daytona Beach, FL 32124 or First Church of Christ Scientist, 200 SE 7th Ave., Delray Beach, FL 33483.
About the Ladies Professional Golf Association
The LPGA features a membership comprised of world-class LPGA Tour professionals and dedicated Teaching and Club Professionals (T&CP). Today's LPGA Tour features the most talented global group of professional athletes who, in 2009, will compete in a minimum of 30 official money events in 10 countries with total prize money of nearly $55 million. In addition to its dynamic Tour members, 1,200 certified LPGA T&CP members serve the golf industry in teaching, coaching and management positions, and oversee programs aimed at increasing the involvement of women, girls and youth in golf. The LPGA's Vision is to inspire, empower, educate and entertain by showcasing the best golf professionals in the world. Its Mission is to be a leader in the world of sports, to promote economic empowerment for all members, and to serve as role models on and off the course. The LPGA is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Fla. For more information on the LPGA, log on to www.LPGA.com.