Kathy Whitworth Death, Obituary – According to her longtime partner Bettye Odle, Kathy Whitworth passed away unexpectedly on Saturday while she was celebrating Christmas Eve with family and friends. Whitworth held the record for the most victories ever achieved by a player on a professional tour with 88 LPGA Tour victories. Her age was 83. “It is with a heart full of love that we let everyone know of the passing of the winningest golf professional ever, Kathy Whitworth,” Odle said in a statement on Sunday. “It is with a heart full of love that we let everyone know of the passing of the winningest golf professional ever.”
Kathy left this world having loved and been loved, having laughed and made memories until the very end of her life. It was not made clear what caused the death or where it occurred. After winning titles as an amateur golfer and attending Odessa College in Texas, Whitworth turned professional at the age of 19 and joined the LPGA Tour. Whitworth was born in Jal, New Mexico, and grew up there. She started playing golf when she was 15 years old using her grandfather’s clubs.
She went on to win a total of six major championships, seven times was named the Player of the Year for the LPGA Tour, and was the first LPGA player to ever accumulate more than one million dollars in career earnings. At the United Virginia Bank Classic in 1985, she won the championship for the last time in her career. Whitworth claimed that winning never got old for him.
Her career included a rivalry with Mickey Wright, who is second behind Kathy Whitworth in the number of LPGA Tour wins with 82. Wright is also deceased. Both Tiger Woods and Sam Snead have 82 victories on the PGA Tour, which ties them for the most victories ever.
Her peers remarked that Whitworth’s fiercely competitive nature was one of the things that set her apart from the rest. Betsy Rawls, another one of Whitworth’s competitors, was quoted on the website for the LPGA as saying, “She just had to win.”
Similar to Mickey Wright and Louise Suggs in many ways. Simply put, there is something that motivates them. Kathy was a person who possessed a high level of intelligence. It was unforgivable for her to commit an error in judgment.
When she was wrong, she despised everything about herself. She was wonderful to play with because she was as nice to everyone and as sweet as she could be, but oh man, she was so hard on herself that it was ridiculous. And that was what kept her going.”
The impact that Whitworth has had both on and off the course was lauded by the LPGA Commissioner, Mollie Marcoux Samaan.
On the website of the LPGA, Samaan is quoted as saying, “She inspired me as a young girl and now as the commissioner, and I know that she did the same for so many others.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Bettye, her family, and the entire golf community during this difficult time.”