(Reuters) - Hall of Famer Mickey Wright, the only LPGA golfer to hold all major titles at the same time, died on Monday, the Ladies Professional Golf Association said. The American was 85.
Wright won 82 tournaments, second only to compatriot Kathy Whitworth (88), and claimed 13 majors in a career that stretched from 1955 until retirement in 1969 because of foot problems.
“She was the best I’ve ever seen, man or woman,” Whitworth once told ESPN. “I’ve had the privilege of playing with Sam Snead and Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer and all of them.
“Nobody hit it like Mickey, just nobody. She had 82 wins, but she would have won over 100 with no trouble if she had stayed on tour.”
The great Ben Hogan said Wright had the finest golf swing he ever saw.
LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan echoed that sentiment on Monday.
“We are deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Mickey Wright,” Whan said in a statement. “We lost a legend, but we may also have lost the best swing in golf history today.”
Wright, who began playing golf at age 12, was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Women’s Golf in 1964 and the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame when it was created in 1967, She became a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1976.
She enjoyed 13 victories in 1963, which remains the LPGA Tour record, and the next season won 11 times, which was tied by Swede Annika Sorenstam for second most victories in a season.
“It was a lot of pressure to be in contention week after week for five or six years,” Wright told Golf World in 2000. “I guess they call it burnout now, but it wore me out.”
She moved to Florida in 1974 and enjoyed gardening, fishing, playing the stock market and crossword puzzles.
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Ken Ferris