At the age of 95, one of the finest female golfers in history passed away.
Betsy Rawls was a trailblazer in the game, having won eight major championships and an incredible 55 tournaments.
She died on Saturday at her Delaware beach house.
The golfing community showered the iconic figure with tributes.
Former LPGA Tour commissioner and USGA CEO Mike Whan stated: “There are just not many careers that can compare to Betsy’s.”
“She was a legend in the game who would have been successful in anything she pursued, so we are all lucky she made golf her passion. RIP to a true champion.”
Rawls’ fellow Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez tweeted: “Very sad to hear of the passing of Betsy Rawls. She was a great champion and a supportive player to my career.
“She was always so kind. Rest in peace Betsy. I hope you are shooting under par up in heaven.”
Beth Daniel, another legendary golf star, wrote: “I am saddened to hear that Betsy Rawls passed away today.
“Betsy was not only a great player and great lady, but was the head of tournament officials and became the director of the McDonald’s Championship. She was a fellow South Carolinian and definitely a mentor to me in my career.”.
One fan commented: “She was one of the finest people I’ve met in any walk of life.”
Another typed: “Betsy Rawls was a trailblazer for the LPGA. A CHAMPION both on and off the course. Very thoughtful & kind. Fiercely competitive. A role model and mentor. All class.”
Born in 1928 in South Carolina, Rawls began playing golf at the age of 17, going on to have a prosperous amateur career. However, prior to Wilson providing financial support for her golf, Rawls had planned to pursue a career in science while studying physics at university.
When she joined the LPGA Tour in 1951, she became a professional. At the Sacramento Women’s Invitational Open, she won her first trophy.
From 1951 to 1969, she won eight majors, beginning with the first of her four US Women’s Open championships.
In addition to becoming the Tour’s president and the first person to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, Rawls also won the coveted Bob Jones Award and was the LPGA’s highest earner in 1952 and 1959.
Rawls played into her 92, getting a new set of clubs aged 90, but stopped when the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
In a beautiful obituary on the LPGA website, Ron Sirak said: “History will never know if Betsy Rawls would have been a physicist mentioned with Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Marie Curie, but the dusty pages of time do tell us she was on a par with Kathy Whitworth, Mickey Wright, Annika Sorenstam, Louise Suggs and Patty Berg. Those are the only players to exceed her 55 LPGA Tour wins.
“Rawls’ achievements sprung from a combination of talent, tenacity and trust in herself. Her intellectual detachment allowed her to take emotion out of the game, and that led to her being a relentless champion.
“Physics is all about understanding how the universe works, comprehending how matter moves through space and time.
“Fortunately for golf, Rawls abandoned that pursuit for another seemingly impossible task: manoeuvring a ball around the course and into the hole.
“In that regard, she was an equal to Newton, Einstein and Curie. Golf has its own Theory of Relativity: in the women’s game, Betsy Rawls is in the extremely limited universe of the best ever to play the game.”