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11 Majors and a Career Grand Slam earns only $200,000?

11 Majors and a Career Grand Slam earns only $200 thousand?

11 Majors and a Career Grand Slam earns only $200 thousand?

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Louise Suggs, a founding member of what is now known and the LPGA, has just passed away at 91 years. 

Her life story is amazing.  Suggs and the famous Babe Zaharias and Patty Berg created the Ladies Pro Tour in 1950.  In those early years, these talented golfers sometimes had to climb onto tractors to divide fairway from rough, they set the pin for each day’s round, and they had to woo the media to get attention for their tour.

Louise Suggs won 58 Pro Tournaments, including 11 Majors, and she was the first tour player to win the Career Grand Slam.  Amazingly enough, her career earnings totaled less than $200,000.00

Today’s LPGA Tour players give thanks to this heroic pioneer.  Read more on how Suggs once beat Sam Snead, who did not take it well.  And find out why Ben Hogan admired her greatly.  Thanks to Frank Litsky at for this story.

11 Majors and a Career Grand Slam earns only $200,000?

Louise Suggs at a golf tournament in 1946. Credit Em/Associated Press

Louise Suggs, a Georgia-born founder of the women’s professional golf tour and one of its most successful and outspoken players, died on Friday in Sarasota, Fla. She was 91.

Her death was announced by theLadies Professional Golf Association, which said she had been in hospice care.

Suggs turned professional in 1948 when she was the reigning United States and British amateur champion.

Two years later, she was one of 13 players who formed the L.P.G.A. She, Babe Didrikson Zaharias and Patty Berg were the main stars on the early tours.

“Figuring if we could maybe get some tournaments together, we could at least pick up a little pocket change,” Suggs once said. “We were so dumb that we didn’t know we couldn’t succeed. We survived and succeeded despite ourselves.”

In 1950, the women played 14 tournaments, with purses totaling $50,000. This year, the L.P.G.A. Tour encompasses 32 tournaments with purses totaling close to $60 million.

Suggs won 58 pro tournaments, including 50 on the tour. Her 11 major titles included the 1949 United States Women’s Open, which she won by 14 strokes, the most one-sided victory on the tour until Laura Davies won a tournament by 16 strokes in 1995. Suggs won every season of her professional career and in 1957, at the L.P.G.A. Championship, became the first player on the tour to capture the career Grand Slam, winning all of the tour’s major events. The L.P.G.A. Tour’s rookie of the year award is named after Suggs.

With all that success, Suggs’s career earnings totaled less than $200,000. And those earnings, or lack of them, remained a sore point for Suggs, who was always known to speak her mind. (Her automobile license plate read “TEED OFF.”) The Associated Press reported that in 2007, at an L.P.G.A. awards dinner at which Angela Park won the Rookie of the Year Award after earning $983,922 on the tour, Suggs declared, “I wish like hell I could have played for this kind of money, but if not for me, they wouldn’t be playing for it, either.”

She also expressed little tolerance for people she considered spoiled. That included today’s touring pros.

“They get mad now if they don’t have the right food in the locker room,” she said. “We were lucky if we got peanut butter and crackers. We paid to get things done.”

The early years of the tour, she recalled, were hardly glamorous.

“Some courses had so little grass, and it was in clumps,” she once said, “that we took farm machines, tractors with discs, to outline fairway and rough. Between rounds, we set the pins for the next day, called newspapers with the day’s scores and tried to charm potential sponsors.”

Pictures: Em/Associated Press
Thanks for reading – 11 Majors and a Career Grand Slam earns only $200 thousand?

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