Recipients of the Heather Farr Perseverance Award, Founders Award, Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year, Rolex ANNIKA Major Award, Commissioner Award and Ellen Griffin Rolex Award, and Rolex First-Time Winners accept their respective awards
NAPLES, Fla., Nov. 16, 2023 – Tonight, 18 individuals accepted their respective awards at the 2023 Rolex LPGA Awards which took place during the LPGA Tour’s season finale, the CME Group Tour Championship.
Heather Farr Perseverance Award – Jane Park
“I remember when this all first happened with Grace how difficult it was for me to feel a sense of belonging. It felt like we were on a deserted island. We didn’t know who to turn to, what questions to ask to get the best care for my daughter and the reason I advocate is because I want to be sure there is a voice that first-time diagnosed parents can turn to and let them know that there’s an online community and a community of parents that care and have been through the same thing.” – Heather Farr Perseverance Award recipient Jane Park
- The award honors an LPGA Tour player who, through her hard work, dedication and love of the game of golf, has demonstrated determination, perseverance and spirit in fulfilling her goals as a player.
- This past July, Park returned to competition at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational for the first time since her daughter, Grace Godfrey, experienced a series of undiagnosed epileptic seizures while Park was playing in the 2021 Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America.
- Park has become Grace’s full-time caregiver and an advocate for disability and epilepsy awareness alongside her husband and professional caddie, Pete Godfrey.
Founders Award – Lexi Thompson
“Winning this award is a huge honor on its own but to know that it was voted on from my fellow peers, that I think so highly of and think that they’re such amazing women on and off the golf course, it
means so much to me. I have cherished every single friendship that I have made in my whole career out here. So, thank you to them for, I guess, having this respect for me. Like I said I’ve gained a lot of friendships and I’m grateful for every single one of them.” – Founder’s Award recipient Lexi Thompson
- The award is given to an LPGA Member who, in the opinion of her playing peers, best exemplifies the spirit, ideals and values of the LPGA through her behavior and deeds.
- Both an LPGA*USGA Girls Golf Ambassador and a PGA Jr. League Ambassador, Thompson can always be seen signing autographs and interacting with fans after her rounds, with a continued goal in inspiring future generations on and off the golf course.
- Thompson has worked with multiple charities throughout her playing career, and most recently took part in charitable initiatives during her time as a sponsor’s exemption at the Shriners Children’s Open on the PGA Tour.
Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year – Hae Ran Ryu
“For those of you who may not know, I’m from South Korea and this was my first year in the U.S. I’ll be honest, it was so hard but there were so many other rookies just like me. We cried and laughed on and off the course. It was such an honor playing with yo. You all deserve this award. You’re all amazing.” – Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year Hae Ran Ryu
- Ryu had the best performance of the year among the 32 rookies, amassing 893 total points in the standings to clinch the award headed into the CME Group Tour Championship.
- Ryu is the sixth player from the Republic of Korea since 2015 to earn the honor, and first since Jeongeun Lee6 in 2019. She is the 14th Korean to earn the award since Se Ri Pak in 1998.
- The 22-year-old earned LPGA Tour Membership after finishing with medalist honors at the 2022 LPGA Q-Series, and prior, competed in six Tour events and won five times on the KLPGA.
Rolex ANNIKA Major Award (RAMA) – Lilia Vu
“I think, I mean, I was super nervous heading into 18 (at the AIG Women’s Open) and somehow hit the fairway, I don’t know what was going through my mind I swear. I knew there was a pretty big lead but it was 102 yards and then I just hit my 50-I was hoping to just sniff the green, that’s how nervous I was. I hit it to about 20 feet, I told Cole (Pensanty), I was like, I don’t know where this is going. He told me the right line and it went in and I couldn’t believe it. Charley (Hull) just had her moment of making a really clutch, long par putt and for me to make that. I mean, it was just crazy” – Rolex ANNIKA Major Award Winner Lilia Vu
- The RAMA recognizes the player who has the most outstanding record in all five major championships throughout the LPGA Tour season. Points for Rolex ANNIKA Major Award are awarded at all five major championships to competitors who finished among the top 10 and ties. To earn the award, a player must have also won at least one of the five majors.
- Vu clinched the award following the AIG Women’s Open, where she won her second major championship of the season with her first being at The Chevron Championship.
- She is the second American to win the award since its inception in 2014, joining Michelle Wie West, who won the inaugural award.
- She is first player since Jin Young Ko (2019) to win two major championships in a single season and the first American to do so since Juli Inkster in 1999.
Commissioners Award – Jim Fitterling
“In my business, we make, ship, and sell things. And like you, we love big wins and big prizes. Yet what separates us from the competition is not exactly adrenaline-pumping. It’s our focus on consistency, high-quality products, on-time delivery, accuracy, high health and safety standards, the quest to do it better, every day. The simple stuff that can often feel anything but. This is what connects Dow to the world of sport, to the beauty of golf, to those family values and to that mystical experience the LPGA delivers day after day. We’re a good fit, and we consider it our privilege to be associated with you.” – Commissioners Award recipient Jim Fitterling
- The award, introduced in 1991, honors a person or organization that has contributed uniquely to the LPGA and its Members, furthered the cause of women’s golf, and possesses character and standards of the highest order.
- Fitterling, the Dow Chair and CEO, has been instrumental in the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, creating an event with a fun, new format centered around teaming up.
- He has continued to support the values that both Dow and the LPGA share, as he continues to reinvest in the tournament each year.
Ellen Griffin Rolex Award – Sheri Hayes
“Like Ellen, I have taught to the uniqueness of people, remembering that everybody’s swing is different and the magic occurs with their personal self-discovery. And like Ellen, I had a stroke. With the grace a belief of Nancy Henderson and Gwen Checho, I pressed on and came back.” – Ellen Griffin Rolex Award recipient Sheri Hayes
- The award, instituted by the LPGA Professionals membership in 1989 to honor the late teaching professional Ellen Griffin, recognizes an individual, male or female, who made a major contribution to the teaching of golf and emulates Griffin's spirit, love and dedication to students, teachers, teaching skills and the game of golf.
- She is a major contributor in the improvement of the education for teaching professionals, serving as the LPGA Education Chair since 2019, and wrote the best in class Integrated Performance Systems which includes some of the most complex topics in the LPGA Education program.
- She has been named a Top 50 Golf Teacher by the LPGA and Top 50 Women Golf Instructors by Golf Digest. She was voted LPGA Professional of the Year twice and LPGA Teacher of the Year three times representing the LPGA Western Section.
Rolex First-Time Winners – Lilia Vu (Honda LPGA Thailand), Ruoning Yin (DIO Implant LA Open), Grace Kim (LOTTE Championship presented by Hoakalei), Rose Zhang (Mizuho Americas Open), Allisen Corpuz (U.S. Women’s Open), Linn Grant (Dana Open), Elizabeth Szokol (DOW Great Lakes Bay Invitational), Alexa Pano (ISPS Handa World Invitational), Megan Khang (CPKC Women’s Open), Chanettee Wannasaen (Portland Classic), Hae Ran Ryu (Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G), Angel Yin (Buick LPGA Shanghai)
- When an LPGA Member wins their first tournament on the Tour, they are recognized as a Rolex First-Time Winner.
- In 2023, there were a record total of 12 Rolex First-Time Winners in a single season, besting the previous record of 11 set in 1995 and tied in 2022.
With a few players in the race for the last two awards of the season, the Rolex Player of the Year and Vare Trophy will be awarded after the completion of the 2023 CME Group Tour Championship.