Patty Berg

This article is about the American golfer. For information about the California politician, see Patty Berg (politician).
Patty Berg
Personal information
Full name Patricia Jane Berg
Born (1918-02-13)February 13, 1918
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Died September 10, 2006(2006-09-10) (aged 88)
Fort Myers, Florida
Nationality  United States
College University of Minnesota
Turned professional 1940
Former tour(s) LPGA Tour
Professional wins 63
Number of wins by tour
LPGA Tour 60 (4th all time)
Other 3
Best results in LPGA major championships
(wins: 15)
Western Open Won: 1941, 1943, 1948, 1951, 1955, 1957, 1958
Titleholders C'ship Won: 1937, 1938, 1939, 1948, 1953, 1955, 1957
Women's PGA C'ship 2nd: 1956, 1959
U.S. Women's Open Won: 1946
Achievements and awards
World Golf Hall of Fame 1951 (member page)
Money Winner
1954, 1955, 1957
LPGA Vare Trophy 1953, 1955, 1956
Associated Press
Female Athlete of the Year
1938, 1943, 1955
Bob Jones Award 1963
Patty Berg Award 1990

Patricia Jane Berg (February 13, 1918 – September 10, 2006)[1] was an American professional golfer and a founding member and then leading player on the LPGA Tour during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Her 15 major title wins remains the all-time record for most major wins by a female golfer. She is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Amateur career

Berg was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and expressed an interest in football at an early age. At one point, she played quarterback on a local team that included future Oklahoma Sooners head football coach Bud Wilkinson. At the age of 13, Berg took up golf in 1931 at the suggestion of her parents; by 1934, she began her amateur career and won the Minneapolis City Championship.[2] The following year, Berg claimed a state amateur title.[3] She attended the University of Minnesota where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She came to national attention by reaching the final of the 1935 U.S. Women's Amateur, losing to Glenna Collett-Vare in Vare's final Amateur victory. Berg won the Titleholders in 1937. In 1938, she won the U.S. Women's Amateur at Westmoreland[4] and the Women's Western Amateur. With a victory in the 1938 Titleholders Championship and a spot on the winning Curtis Cup team as well, Berg was selected as the Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year, the first of three times she earned the honor.[2] In 1939, Berg won her third consecutive Titleholders, although she was unable to compete in the U.S. Women's Amateur due to an operation on her appendix.[5]

Professional career

After winning 29 amateur titles, she turned professional in 1940.[2] During World War II she was a lieutenant in the Marines, 1942–45.[6] Berg's career had been interrupted by an automobile accident in December 1941; while traveling to a fund-raising event with Helen Dettweiler, a head-on accident shattered Berg's knee. Despite concerns that her golfing career would end, Berg returned to the game in 1943, helped by a locker room fall that broke adhesions which had developed in her leg. Upon her comeback, she won the Women's Western Open.[5] She won the inaugural U.S. Women's Open in 1946. In 1948, she helped establish the forerunner of the LPGA, the Women's Professional Golf Association (WPGA), winning three tournaments that season and in 1949.[5] When the LPGA was officially started in 1950, Berg was one of the 13 founding members and held a leadership position as the association's first president.[2] Berg won a total of 57 events on the LPGA and WPGA circuit, and was runner-up in the 1957 Open at Winged Foot. She was runner-up in the 1956 and 1959 LPGA Championships.[2] In addition, Berg won the 1953, 1957, and 1958 Women's Western Opens, the 1955 and 1957 Titleholders, both considered majors at the time. Her last victory came in 1962. She was voted the Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year in 1942 and 1955, in addition to her 1938 award. During a four-year stretch from 1953 to 1956, Berg won the Vare Trophy three times for having the lowest scoring average on the LPGA.[3] She was the LPGA Tour's top money winner twice, in 1954 and 1957, and her seven Titleholders wins is an all-time record.[2] Berg won 15 women's major golf championships in her career, including the seven Titleholders victories, seven wins in the Women's Western Open, and the 1946 U.S. Women's Open championship.[5]

In 1963, Berg was voted the recipient of the Bob Jones Award, the highest honor given by the United States Golf Association in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf. Berg received the 1986 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, GCSAA's highest honor. The LPGA established the Patty Berg Award in 1978. In her later years, Berg teamed-up with PGA Tour player and fellow Fort Myers, Florida resident Nolan Henke to establish the Nolan Henke/Patty Berg Junior Masters to promote the development of young players.

Berg was sponsored on the LPGA Tour her entire career by public golf patriarch Joe Jemsek, owner of the famous Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Illinois, site of the PGA Tour's Western Open from 1991 to 2006. Berg represented another of Jemsek's public facilities, St. Andrews Golf & Country Club in West Chicago, Illinois, on the women's circuit for over 60 years.

Berg told Chicagoland Golf magazine she taught over 16,000 clinics in her lifetime – many of which were sponsored by Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods and were called "The Patty Berg Hit Parade." In that interview, Berg figured she personally indoctrinated to the game of golf over a half-million new players. She was a member of Wilson's Advisory Staff for 66 years, until her death.

She announced in December 2004 that she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She died in Fort Myers from complications of the disease 21 months later at the age of 88.

Professional wins (63)

LPGA Tour wins (60)

LPGA majors are shown in bold.

Other wins (3)

Major championships

Wins (15)

YearChampionshipWinning scoreMarginRunner(s)-up
1937 Titleholders Championship +3 (80-87-73=240)3 strokes United States Dorothy Kirby (a)
1938 Titleholders Championship −5 (78-79-77-77=311)14 strokes United States Jane Cothran (a)
1939 Titleholders Championship +19 (78-78-83-80=319)2 strokes United States Dorothy Kirby (a)
1941 Women's Western Open 7 & 6 United States Mrs. Burt Weil
1943 Women's Western Open 1 up United States Dorothy Kirby (a)
1946 U.S. Women's Open 4 & 3 United States Betty Jameson
1948 Titleholders Championship +8 (80-74-78-76=308)1 stroke United States Peggy Kirk, United States Babe Zaharias
1948 Women's Western Open 37 holes United States Babe Zaharias
1951 Women's Western Open 2 upUnited States Pat O'Sullivan (a)
1953 Titleholders Championship +6 (72-74-73-75=294)9 strokesUnited States Betsy Rawls
1955 Titleholders Championship +3 (76-68-74-73=291)2 strokesUnited States Mary Lena Faulk
1955 Women's Western Open E (73-75-71-73=292)2 strokesUruguay Fay Crocker, United States Louise Suggs
1957 Titleholders Championship +8 (78-71-78-69=296)3 strokesUnited States Anne Quast (a)
1957 Women's Western Open −1 (72-70-75-74=291)1 strokeUnited States Wiffi Smith
1958 Women's Western Open +1 (75-72-71-75=293)4 strokesUnited States Beverly Hanson

Results timeline

Tournament 1937 1938 1939
Women's Western Open DNP QF DNP
Titleholders Championship 1 1 1
Tournament 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949
Women's Western Open DNP 1 DNP 1 QF DNP 2 SF 1 SF
Titleholders Championship ? ? ? NT NT NT ? 4 1 T2
U.S. Women's Open NYF NYF NYF NYF NYF NYF 1 9 T4 T4
Tournament 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
Women's Western Open SF 1 QF 2 SF 1 T4 1 1 T2
Titleholders Championship T8 T3 T3 1 2 1 2 1 3 T8
U.S. Women's Open 5 8 9 3 12 5 T3 2 T9 6
LPGA Championship NYF NYF NYF NYF NYF ? 2 7 12 2
Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
Women's Western Open T13 T15 T3 DNP 14 9 ? T11 NT NT
Titleholders Championship T4 T2 4 ? T15 23 ? NT NT NT
U.S. Women's Open 17 18 T13 T29 10 T22 T18 39 T29 CUT
LPGA Championship 4 20 T13 ? 12 T11 ? T22 T22 T17
Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
Titleholders Championship NT NT T36 NT NT NT NT NT NT NT
LPGA Championship T17 ? CUT T51 ? ? ? ? ? ?

NYF = Tournament not yet founded
NT = No tournament
DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
R16, QF, SF = Round in which player lost in match play
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10


1 Does not include those with "?"

Team appearances


See also


  1. "Golf pioneer Patty Berg passes away at 88". PGA Tour. September 10, 2006. Archived from the original on August 28, 2008.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Carlson, Michael (September 12, 2006). "Patty Berg". The Guardian. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  3. 1 2 Hickok, Ralph (1995). A Who's Who of Sports Champions: Their Stories and Records. Houghton Mifflin. pp. 63–64. ISBN 9780395733127.
  4. "Yesterday's News: Patty Berg, 20, wins first national title". Star Tribune. September 26, 1938. Retrieved November 18, 2008.
  5. 1 2 3 4 Kalb, Elliott (2006). Who's Better, Who's Best in Golf?. McGraw-Hill. pp. 237–240. ISBN 9780071469777.
  6. Official LPGA Biography.
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