Mickey Wright

Mickey Wright holds trophy after winning 1961 US Women's Open Golf Championship
Golfer Mickey Wright with the US Women's Open trophy in 1961. Bettman/Getty Images

Mickey Wright was one of the early superstars on the LPGA Tour and, many still argue, its greatest player.

Date of birth: Feb. 14, 1935

Place of birth: San Diego, California

Date of death: Feb. 17, 2020
Nickname: Mickey, of course. Her given name is Mary Kathryn Wright.

Tour Victories:


Major Championships:

• U.S. Women's Open: 1958, 1959, 1961, 1964
• LPGA Championship: 1958, 1960, 1961, 1963
• Western Open: 1962, 1963, 1966
• Titleholders: 1961, 1962

Awards and Honors:

• Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
• LPGA Tour money leader, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964
• Vare Trophy (low scoring average) winner, 1960-65
• Named Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year, 1963-64
• Honoree at Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament, 1994
• Named Greatest Female Golfer of the 20th Century by the Associated Press

Quote, Unquote:

• Mickey Wright: "When I play my best golf, I feel as if I'm in a fog, standing back watching the earth in orbit with a golf club in my hands."

• Beth Daniel: "As far as a shotmaker and true feel player, Mickey Wright has it over any player I've ever seen in my life, male or female. Hers was the best swing in golf that I've ever seen."

• Betsy Rawls: "I always say Mickey was the best golfer the LPGA ever had. I think most of the people who ever saw her play still think that."


• Mickey Wright won tournaments on the LPGA Tour every year from 1956 to 1969. That 14-year winning streak is second-best in LPGA history, behind Kathy Whitworth's 17-year streak.

• Wright is the only golfer in LPGA history to hold all four majors simultaneously, achieving this feat in 1962 after winning the final three majors of 1961.

Mickey Wright Biography:

Mary Kathryn "Mickey" Wright was a California girl who took up golf at the age of 12. She was winning important junior tournaments within a very short time. Among those victories was the 1952 U.S. Girls Junior and 1954 World Amateur.

She attended Stanford University and studied psychology, but after finishing as low amateur at the 1954 U.S. Women's Open, Wright decided it was time to turn pro. She joined the LPGA Tour in 1955.

It took her a year to win her first tour event, the 1956 Jacksonville Open, but then she was off an running. She won three times each in in 1957, 1958 and 1959, and five times in 1960. By 1961, she was such a star that she already had a tournament named after her - the Mickey Wright Invitational, which she won.

Wright won 10 or more tournaments every year from 1961 (when she won three of the four majors) through 1964. That included 13 wins in 1963. Only four others have won in double digits in a single LPGA season: Betsy Rawls, Kathy Whitworth, Carol Mann and Annika Sorenstam.

In all, Wright won 82 tournaments and 13 majors. She accomplished the career Grand Slam by the age of 27.

The year 1969 was Wright's last full season on tour. She had some nagging foot and wrist injuries, and she was worn down from carrying the banner as the LPGA's biggest star. Only once after 1969 did she play in more than 10 tournaments, and most years she played just a handful. Her final victory came in 1973, and her last LPGA Tour appearance was in 1980.

Wright did play her way into a 5-way playoff at the 1979 Coca-Cola Classic (where she played in sneakers all three days), before eventually losing to Nancy Lopez.

Mickey Wright is one of the most-honored golfers in LPGA history. Before Sorenstam's domination beginning in 2001, Wright was the golfer most likely to be called the greatest player in women's golf history. Many still argue in her favor.

No less an authority than Ben Hogan said Wright's swing was the best he'd ever seen.