Kathy Whitworth Dies: Golfing Legend And Top Tournament Winner Was 88

Kathy Whitworth, who won more golf tournaments than any man or woman on United States tours, died Saturday. She was 88 and collapsed at a neighborhood Christmas party at Flower Mound, Texas, where she lived, according to Christina Lance, an LPGA spokeswoman.

Whitworth’s 88 tour victories saw her as the Ladies Pro Golfing Assn. tour’s leading money winner eight times. She became the first woman pro to win more than $1 million in prize money, and earned more than $1.7 million lifetime in an era when purses were modest.

Tiger Woods, with 82 victories on the PGA Tour, is the only active golfer anywhere near Whitworth’s total. Sam Snead, who died in 2002, is also credited with 82 PGA victories, and Mickey Wright won 82 times on the LPGA Tour.

Whitworth was known for her putting and bunker game. She was a seven-time LPGA Player of the Year and won the Vare Trophy for lowest stroke average in a season seven times.

The Associated Press named Whitworth the Female Athlete of the Year in 1965 and 1966 and she was inducted into the LPGA Tour and World Golf halls of fame.

Whitworth is survived by her longtime partner, Bettye Odle.

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