- RACE TO CME GLOBE
LPGA co-founder Louise Suggs always let her clubs do the talking. Nicknamed “The Little Hogan” by media in the early years, Suggs brought with her to the newly formed professional golf association a sparkling amateur career.
The Georgia native was no stranger to golf fans, as she had wowed media and galleries throughout the 1940s with amateur wins that included two Georgia State Amateur Championships, wins at the 1941 and 1947 Southern Amateur Championship, three wins at the North and South Women’s Amateur Championship, the 1947 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, the 1948 Women’s British Amateur Championship, and a member of the 1948 U.S. Curtis Cup team.
The sweet-swinging Georgian also won the 1946 Western Amateur Championship and Western Open and defended both titles the following year, adding the 1946 Titleholders to her impressive resume. These tournaments were professional events when Suggs won them as an amateur.
Suggs’ excellence as a player continued when she turned professional in 1948. She won once that year, but captured four tournament titles in 1949, including the U.S. Women’s Open Championship, which she won by 14 strokes over Babe Zaharias. In fact, Suggs won eight tournaments, including five major championships, before the founding of the LPGA in 1950.
In spite of the loss of early LPGA records, Suggs is credited with 58 LPGA career wins and 11 major championships. In 1957, she won the Vare Trophy (for low scoring average) and also became the LPGA’s first player to complete the career grand slam, which included the U.S. Women’s Open, the LPGA Championship, the Western Open and the Titleholders Championship, at that time.
When prize money was limited in the early years, it was not uncommon for the Georgia player and her Atlanta businessman father to put up the purse at some tournaments. Suggs joked that she always had incentive to play well to win back her own cash.
Suggs became one of the six inaugural inductees of the LPGA Hall of Fame, as well as a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, and the LPGA’s Teaching and Club Professionals’ Hall of Fame. Over the years, she was honored with numerous awards, including the Patty Berg Award in 2000, the 2007 Bob Jones Award for “distinguished sportsmanship in golf,” and the William D. Richardson Award in 2008, which recognizes “individuals who have consistently made an outstanding contribution to golf.”
But while her winning record distinguished Suggs as one of the LPGA’s top players, her leadership also placed her at the helm of the association as the LPGA’s president from 1955-1957. And her leadership, both on and off the course, was saluted when the LPGA announced the creation of the Louise Suggs Trophy in 2000, presented annually to the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year.
AmateurSuggs had a brilliant amateur career. She won the Georgia State Amateur Championship in 1940 and 1942. She captured the Southern Amateur Championship title in 1941 and 1947 and won the North and South Amateur Championship three times (1942, 1946, 1948). Suggs won the 1946 Western Amateur Championship and Western Open and successfully defended both titles the following season. She won the Titleholders in 1946 and the U.S. Women's Amateur in 1947. In 1948, Suggs added the British Amateur Championship title to her resume and topped off her amateur career by representing the United States on the 1948 Curtis Cup Team.