(NEW YORK TIMES) – Mickey Wright, who won 82 LPGA tournaments, 13 of them Majors, and was perhaps the finest player in the history of women's golf, died on Monday (Feb 17) in Florida at the age of 85.
The cause was a heart attack, her lawyer, Sonia Pawluc, told The Associated Press. Wright had been hospitalised for the past few weeks after being injured in a fall.
A long hitter known for her compact and fluid swing, she dominated the LPGA Tour in the late 1950s and much of the 1960s. She was eclipsed in career victories only by Kathy Whitworth's 88 and in Major victories only by Patty Berg's 15.
Wright won both the US Women's Open and the LPGA Championship four times, and she captured the Western Open three times and the Titleholders Championship twice when they were Major events.
She was named the Woman Athlete of the Year by The Associated Press in 1963, when she won 13 LPGA tournaments, still a record for a single season, and in 1964, when she won 11 times.
Wright, in 1961 and 1962, and Tiger Woods, in 2000 and 2001, are the only golfers to have captured four consecutive Majors.
Wright's three women's Major victories in a single year (she won the US Women's Open, the LPGA Championship and the Titleholders in 1961) have been equalled only by Babe Zaharias (1950), Pat Bradley (1986) and Park In-bee (2013).
In December 1999, a six-member panel assembled by the AP voted Wright the top women's golfer of the 20th century, ahead of Zaharias and Whitworth.
Ben Hogan was often quoted as saying that Wright "had the finest golf swing I ever saw".
"She was the best I've ever seen, man or woman," Whitworth said in an interview for ESPN in 2015. "I've had the privilege of playing with Sam Snead and Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer and all of them. And some of our ladies had wonderful golf swings. But nobody hit it like Mickey, just nobody."