Here another page from golf’s history book by Dan DeFreest, brought to you by Classic Swing Golf School in Myrtle Beach.
Remembering the “other “Babe.
In the world of sports, the name Babe usually conjures up the image of one man, Babe Ruth. However, there was another Babe, and by comparison, her athletic accomplishments dwarf Ruth’s.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias was born Mildred Ella Didriksen (later changing the spelling of her last name) on June 26, 1911. She picked up the nickname “Babe” because of her ability to hit home runs in baseball games. Babe became an accomplished baseball and softball player, a bowler, and diver and in 1932 she won two gold and one silver medal in the Olympics.
It wasn’t until she was in her middle twenties that Zaharias fist took up the game of golf, but like her other athletic endeavors, Babe attacked the game with the same intense competitiveness that had brought her fame and success in other sporting events.
Initially denied amateur status, she entered the 1938 PGA tournament and missed the cut, she eventually would make the cut in every men’s tournament that she entered, however it was in the LPGA that she really made her mark.
From 1940, until her untimely death in 1956 at the young age of 45, Babe Zaharias won 41 LPGA tournaments including 10 majors. She was initially diagnosed with colon cancer in 1953 and after beating it she returned to the links and won her last major, the 1954 Woman’s Open and the Vare Trophy for the low scoring average. In 1955, the cancer returned and in spite of it she won two more tournaments that year and then succumbed to the disease in 1956.
Babe Zaharias was one of the founding members of the LPGA and its president of it from 1953 – 1955, in 1967 she was one of the original 6 charter members inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame and later named by ESPN as one of the 10 greatest athletes of the 20th century.
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