Golf is a sport that has such an incredible following and depth to its hundreds of years of history that sometimes it is fun to take a step back and really look at some of the golfers who have played and consider who is the best of all time.
Whenever you try to compare people from different eras in sport it is always difficult as you have to factor in things such as the level of competition that they were facing, the type of equipment they had available and the general relationship that athletes have with things such as diet and physical training.
Looking at the best female golfer is always going to be tricky because just saying one person has more Tour wins or Majors than another can’t settle every argument. Majors in the 1930s and 40s were at a completely different level compared to the modern LPGA standard, but without those majors, we may not be where we are today.
So here are five of the best female golfers to have ever played.
First, it seems appropriate to look at one of the best women golfers who is still actively competing for wins.
Inbee Park is arguably the best player in the modern-day Women’s LPGA era with 31 Tour Wins and 7 Major wins in her 13-year career. She started her LPGA career off with a bang, as only in her second year in 2008 she was able to secure victory at the U.S. Women’s Open at only 19 years of age, being crowned the youngest player to ever do so.
In 2013 Park had a sensational year where she dominated the other competition by winning three majors, becoming the only player on the LPGA to do so since 1986, and winning the LPGA Player of the Year.
She may have not won a major since 2015, but the seven majors she has won is the sixth-highest total ever and is the most of any player who is not currently in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Also at only 33 she still has a lot of golf left to play at a high level as she consistently ranks in the Top 5 of the Rolex ranking for her incredible performances.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias
There are several athletes that have the athleticism, physical tools and competitive edge that it doesn’t matter what sport they take part in, you just know they are going to do well. Babe Didrikson Zaharias is one of those athletes, and arguably one of the best all-around athletes in American history.
Zaharias represented the USA at the 1932 Olympics competing in track and field events where she won three medals, two of which were gold. After that success, she then turned her competitive focus to golf, where she is now most well known for and is considered one of the best female golfers of all time.
With 41 Tour wins and 10 Majors she definitely has the resume as one of the best. Also as one of the founding members of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), she will always have her name in the history books.
Being able to say that you have the most wins in LPGA Tour history is an incredible statement to make, but for Kathy Whitworth she is able to make that statement proudly with a staggering total of 88 victories.
Whitworth’s career statistics are incredible to read through. Just a brief overview shows that she reached 88 tour wins, won six LPGA majors, won the Vare Trophy seven times, has seven Player of the Year awards (winning four of them in a row ), was the first LPGA Tour player to crack the $1 Million mark for winnings and still holes the Tour record for career hole-in-ones, with 11.
Whitworth has some incredible totals and is definitely one of the greatest female golfers to ever play, but with such a long career and a window of 20 years of winning LPGA tours would other female golfers who retired earlier be able to have exceeded her achievements if they had played for six or seven more years?
Narrowly missing out on Kathy Whitworth Tour victory mark, Mickey Wright finished her incredible career with 82 LPGA Tour victories, 13 Majors and was paid one of the highest compliments in golf with golfing legend Ben Hogan once being quoted as saying she had the best golf swing he had ever seen.
Being paid that compliment by the one golfer that was obsessed with creating the perfect swing, that is when you know Mickey Wright was one of the best to ever play. But also one of the most staggering facts is that Wright achieved all of this in just a 13-year career. 13 also seems to be the lucky number for Wright as she managed to win 13 tour events in 1963, which is a single-season record that still stands today.
If she had played for just two more years would Mickey Wright hold the record for most Tour and Major wins?
Annika Sorenstam is widely considered one of if not the greatest female golfer to ever play. With a record of 73 LPGA Tour victories and 10 Majors to her name, she may not have the best career by the numbers but it was her impact that made her an icon.
Playing from 1994 – 2008, Sorenstam played in one of the hardest eras of golf and was able to achieve so many Tour wins, Major and won the Player of the Year award a staggering eight times, the most of all time.
Sorenstam also holds two incredible records.
The first took place in 2001 when she became the only female golfer to ever shoot a 59 in a competition, a feat still hasn’t been reached by any other female golfer. The second was in 2003 when she became the first female golfer since Babe Didrikson Zaharias in 1945 to play in a men’s PGA Tour event, inspiring the next generation of female golfers.
A generational talent and arguably the greatest female golfer in history.