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Tributes have poured in for golf great Kathy Whitworth who passed away on Christmas Eve. She was 83. 

A six-time major champion, Whitworth has the distinction of being the most prolific winner on any professional golf tour, with 88 LPGA victories to her name.  

Her remarkable haul began at the Kelly Girls Open in 1962 and ended at the 1985 United Virginia Bank Classic. But for 20 playoff defeats, she might have won more than 100 times on the circuit. 

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In 1974, she won the Orange Blossom Classic for the fifth time, making her one of only four LPGA golfers have won the same tournament on five different occasions. She was the first LPGA to player $1million in 1981 and, in 1990, captained the US team in the inaugural Solheim Cup match.  

A seven-time LPGA ‘Player of the Year’ and an eight-time money winner, Whitworth was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1975. 

She died suddenly on Christmas Eve whilst celebrating with family and friends. 

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Her long-time partner, Bettye Odle, said: Kathy left this world the way she lived her life, loving, laughing and creating memories.” 

LPGA commissioner Mollie Marcoux Samaan added: “The golf world and the world in general lost one of its most incredible women with the passing of Kathy Whitworth. Kathy was a champion in the truest sense of the word, both on the golf course and off.” 

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Writing on Twitter, Annika Sorenstam said: “We are very sorry to hear about the sudden passing of Kathy. As the LPGA‘s all-time wins, leader, and a total class act, she will be dearly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and close friends. Thanks for setting the bar so high, Kathy.” 

Dame Laura Davies described the news of Whitworth’s passing as “a sad day golf” whilst tennis great Billie Jean King called Whitworth “a trailblazer and a true champion”. 


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Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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