- RACE TO CME GLOBE
Port Arthur, Texas
1954 Vare Trophy, 2000 LPGA Commissioner’s Award
After solidifying her place in history as one of the greatest athletes of all time and winning two gold medals at the 1932 Olympics in track and field, Babe Didrikson Zaharias began her golf career in 1935. Because of her professional status in other sports, Babe was considered to be a pro in her first few years in golf, eventually regaining her amateur status in 1942. She won the 1946 U.S. Women’s Amateur and the 1947 British Ladies Amateur, becoming the first American to win that overseas title, and she had a winning streak of 17 amateur titles.
Zaharias officially became a professional golfer in 1947 and carded 41 wins in her career including 10 major championships – the 1940, 1944, 1945, and 1950 Women’s Western Opens, the 1947, 1950, and 1952 Titleholders Championships, and the 1948, 1950, and 1954 U.S. Women’s Opens. Babe was a founding member of the LPGA Tour in 1950 and completed what was considered to be the Career Grand Slam at the time the same year. She led the Tour in money earned in 1950 and 1951 and won the 1954 Vare Trophy for the season’s lowest scoring average. After being diagnosed with colon cancer, Babe’s career began to wane, but she still served in her capacity as LPGA Tour President from 1952 until 1955.
Zaharias won numerous awards including the 1954 William D. Richardson Award and the 1954 Ben Hogan as well as the 1957 Bob Jones Award. She was inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame in 1951, World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974, the PGA of America Hall of Fame in 1977, and the Texas Golf Hall of Fame in 1978. GOLF Magazine recognized Babe as the Golfer of the Decade for 1948-57 in 1988 and became a member of the Southern California Golf Association Hall of Fame in 2009. She was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2021.