Golfer Betsy King: Profile and Stats of the LPGA Hall-of-Famer

Betsy King - in a robe after making the Champion's Leap - holds the trophy she earned for winning the 1997 Kraft Nabisco Championship.
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Betsy King was the best player in women's golf for a time in the late 1980s and early 1990s. She won six majors and more than 30 tournaments on the LPGA, and those feats, plus multiple awards, gained her entry into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Fast Facts: Betsy King

  • Known For: Hall-of-Fame LPGA golf career.
  • Born: August 13, 1955 in Reading, Pennsylvania
  • Education: Furman University
  • Key Accomplishments: Nearly 40 pro tour victories; six wins in major championships including two in the U.S. Women's Open.
  • Quote: "We have to be pretty self-centered and confident in ourselves to be successful on the (LPGA) Tour. We have strong personalities ... because we have to depend solely on our abilities."

Win Totals and Major Championship Victories

Betsy King won a total of 34 times on the LPGA Tour, the bulk of those victories happening from 1983 through 1993. LPGA stars didn't play outside of North America nearly as often in King's era, but she did also manage to win once on each of the Japan Tour and Ladies European Tour.

In the women's golf majors, King won six times. Her biggest victories were back-to-back U.S. Women's Open titles in 1989 and 1990. King also won the LPGA Championship (now called the Women's PGA Championship) in 1992, plus the Kraft Nabisco Championship (now called the ANA Championship) three times (1987, 1990, 1997).

Awards and Honors for Betsy King

  • Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
  • Member, U.S. Solheim Cup team, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998
  • Captain, U.S. Solheim Cup team, 2007
  • LPGA Player of the Year, 1984, 1989, 1993
  • Winner of Vare Trophy (for LPGA low scoring average), 1987, 1993
  • LPGA money leader, 1984, 1989, 1993

Betsy King Biography

It took Betsy King a while to get started on the LPGA Tour, but once she did, she turned into the best player in the world.

King played collegiately at Furman University, where fellow future Hall of Famer Beth Daniel was a teammate. King was low amateur at the 1976 U.S. Women's Open, then turned pro and joined the LPGA Tour in 1977.

It took her seven years to win her first tournament, but it finally happened at the 1984 Women's Kemper Open. And she was off to the races.

She won twice more in 1984 and added four second-place finishes and 21 Top 10 finishes to earn LPGA Player of the Year honors. From 1984 through 1989, King won a total of 20 LPGA events — more wins than any other golfer in the world, male or female, during that time period.

After that first win in 1984, King won at least once each of the next 10 years, with a high of six victories in 1989. She finished in the Top 10 on the money list every year from 1985-95, and again in 1997.

Along the way, King was named Player of the Year three times, won two scoring titles and three money titles.

There were some frustrating times in there, however. In 1993 she won a scoring title and the money title, but only one tournament. She finished second five times, including at two majors.

But success, not frustration, was King's hallmark. King won the Women's British Open in 1985 before it was counted as a major. Then she averaged a major a year from 1987 to 1992 and won a sixth major in 1997. The last of her 34 LPGA wins came in 2001.

With her 30th win in 1995, she gained entry into the LPGA Hall of Fame.

King was one of the biggest and most popular stars on the LPGA from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s. From 1994 to 2004, there was even an event on Tour hosted by King.

King was also a tireless worker for charitable causes, organizing Habitat for Humanity house building projects and working in former Soviet bloc countries with orphan relief agencies. In the 2000s, her charitable efforts turned toward Africa. She founded Golf Fore Africa in 2006 and works to raise funds and awareness of childhood HIV/AIDS problems on that continent, as well as other children's issues in Africa.

Trivia Tidbits

  • When she won the 1992 LPGA Championship, King posted rounds of 68-66-67-66. It was the first time any golfer posted four rounds in the 60s at an LPGA major.
  • Betsy King was the first to break the $5 million and $6 million marks in LPGA career earnings.

Quote, Unquote

  • Betsy King: "With golf, you never know when it's the best you are ever going to play. In my prime, I thought that I was struggling half the time. You are just brutal in the way you think about yourself."