Each year, the JTBC Founders Cup celebrates “pioneers” of the LPGA, honoring their pioneering and trailblazing spirit, as well as their exemplary participation in the development and advancement of the LPGA Tour.
This year Kathy Whitworth and Renee Powell are being honored as Pioneers.
Birthday: September 27, 1939
Hometown: Monahans, Texas
Rookie Year: 1958
LPGA Victories: 88
One of the greatest female players of all time, Kathy Whitworth won 88 LPGA tournaments from 1962 to 1985, more than any other player on either the LPGA Tour of the PGA Tour. Before turning professional, she claimed the 1957 and 1958 New Mexico State Amateur Championships and then transitioned into the professional game with a victory at the 1962 Kelly Girls Open. From there, Whitworth built her legacy, winning an amazing eight tournaments in 1965, nine in 1966, eight in 1967 and 10 in 1968, during which time she was named the Associated Press Athlete of the Year twice (’65 and ’67). Tutored by Hardy Loudermilk and the legendary Harvey Penick, Whitworth claimed six major championships during her career. A decade later, in 1975, Whitworth was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame before she retired from competitive play in 2005.
Things to know about Kathy:
- She won eight LPGA money titles (1965-1967; 1970-1973)
- She won seven LPGA Player of the Year titles (1966-1969; 1971-1973)
- In 1981, she became the first LPGA player to earn $1 million, and she finished her career with $1.72 million.
- She served as captain of the inaugural Solheim Cup in 1990, leading her team to a 11 ½ to 4 ½ victory over Europe.
- She is a member of the President’s Campaign Against Drug Abuse
Birthdate: May 4, 1946
Hometown: East Canton, Ohio
Rookie Year: 1967
LPGA Victories: 0
As the second African-American woman ever to play on the LPGA Tour, Renee Powell was a golfing pioneer in more ways than one. The daughter of the late William “Bill” Powell (recognized as the first African-American to design, construct and own a golf facility at Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, Ohio), Powell played the LPGA circuit from 1967 to 1980, behind the Althea Gibson, who became the first African-American to join the LPGA in 1964. Under the tutelage of her father, a PGA Hall-of-Famer who passed away in 2009, Powell had a decorated record as a youth. Among other events, she won the Midwest Junior four times and the Northeastern Ohio Junior twice; and while she never won on the LPGA circuit, she triumphed at the 1973 Kelly Springfield Open in Australia. Following Powell’s career, it wasn’t until 1995 that another African-American woman played on the LPGA Tour – LaRee Sugg played from 1995 to 1997 and from 2000 to 2001.
Things to know about Renee:
- She competed in more than 250 professional tournaments
- Her best finish was a T4 at the 1972 Lady Errol Classic
- She missed only five cuts on the LPGA in 1977
- She currently serves as the head professional at her family’s Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, Ohio