DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., March 31, 2010 – LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Juli Inkster is the recipient of the 2009 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 LPGA Founder and Hall of Famer, Patty Berg.
“It's an honor to receive the Patty Berg Award. She always demonstrated what being a professional is all about,” said Inkster. “She gave so much of herself to the LPGA. Receiving this award with Patty’s name on it, and thinking of all the special individuals before me who have received it, leaves me truly humbled.”
Since winning three consecutive U.S. Women’s Amateur titles (1980-82) and subsequently being named Golf Digest’s ‘Rookie of the Year’ in 1983, Inkster has collected more than 30 career victories, along with a string of awards and honors in her nearly three decades on Tour.
In 1999, perhaps her most memorable Tour year to-date, Inkster captured five tournament titles, including two major championships, and entered both the LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame upon claiming her 22nd victory at the Safeway LPGA Golf Championship. That same year, she became only the second woman in LPGA history to complete the modern day LPGA Career Grand Slam.
Beyond these personal achievements behind the ropes, Inkster has become one of the greatest leaders the sport has ever known. A member of eight U.S. Solheim Cup teams, Inkster has long-channeled her patience and fortitude as a mother of two girls to provide unwavering support and guidance to her teammates, who become younger with each successive Solheim Cup competition.
Throughout the years, individual tournaments have also recognized Inkster for her tremendous in-market support, while media, too, have showered her with accolades for her entertaining and starkly honest approach with them over the years. Just last year, the Golf Writers’ Association of America awarded Inkster the ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award for cooperation, quotability and accommodation to the media and for reflecting the most positive aspects of the working relationship between athlete and journalists.
“Juli has been such a great ambassador for the LPGA Tour. She has always shown such great sportsmanship in the world of golf, and she has always been a fan favorite because of her enthusiasm and fun character,” said LPGA Hall of Fame member and friend of Inkster’s, Nancy Lopez. “I also know her as a mom. She has raised two great daughters while remaining very competitive in the world of golf. Juli is very deserving of this great honor. I know if Patty Berg were here today, she would be very proud to be presenting Juli with her award.”
Berg, for which the award was fittingly named, was one of the 13 founders of the LPGA and one of the greatest ambassadors of golf. Aside from her sensational victory-laden career, Berg was a consummate professional inside and outside the ropes. She redefined the image of athlete as entertainer with fan focus.
The Patty Berg Award is given to an individual who, like Berg, exemplifies diplomacy, sportsmanship, goodwill and contributions to the game of golf. Past recipients of the award are: Marilynn Smith (1979); Betsy Rawls (1980); Ray Volpe (1984); Dinah Shore (1985); David Foster (1986); Kathy Whitworth (1987); John D. Laupheimer (1988); Patty Berg (1990); Karsten Solheim (1991); Judy Dickinson (1992); Kerry Graham (1993); Charles S. Mechem Jr. (1994); Suzanne Jackson (1996); Judy Bell (1997); Judy Rankin (1999); Louise Suggs (2000); Pat Bradley (2001); Patty Sheehan (2002); Annika Sorenstam (2003);Ty Votaw (2005); and Dolores Hope (2008).