Babe Zaharias is not only thought to be one of the finest female golfers of all time, she is considered by many to be the top woman athlete of the first half of the 20th century. The Babe’s accomplishments on the golf course are only part of a much larger resume of athletic feats, including winning two gold medals at the 1932 Olympics. Charles Price said of her, “Short of the Kentucky Derby, she won everything on the athletic horizon.”
Zaharias’ golf accomplishments as an amateur include winning the 1946 U.S. Women’s Amateur and the 1947 British Ladies’ Amateur. (Zaharias, a resident of Edgewater and a regular at Lakewood Country Club, was the first American to win the British championship.) In 1948 Zaharias returned to the professional status she was forced to give up prior to World War II. As a pro, Zaharias won 31 events, including three U.S. Women’s Opens. She was also among the co-founders of the LPGA Tour. Her most famous victory came in the 1954 Open, which she won by a record 12 strokes. This win came less than a year after a major operation for cancer.
Babe Zaharias died two years later and golf lost one of its greatest figures.