Louise Suggs (b. 1923)
Mae Louise Suggs was born in Atlanta on September 7, 1923. She grew up in a sports family: her grandfather owned the Atlanta Crackers, and her father played professional baseball and later built golf courses. When Suggs was ten years old, she began to play golf on the Lithia Springs golf course that her father had built and managed. Just seven years later she graduated as valedictorian from Austell High School and won the Southern Amateur Championship (1941).
During her amateur career Suggs won the Southern Amateur Championship twice (1941 and 1947), the Women's Western Amateur Championship twice (1946 and 1947),
On July 8, 1948, Suggs turned professional and accepted a contract to endorse MacGregor golf products. In her inaugural year as a pro, Suggs won the 1949 U.S. Open by a record fourteen strokes and a score of 291. The Women's Professional Golf Association folded that same year; thirteen players, including Suggs, drafted articles of incorporation for the LPGA in August 1950 with the help of Fred Corcoran (the business manager for Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias, one of the greatest all-around women athletes of all time) and the financial backing of Wilson Sporting Goods, Spalding, and MacGregor.
In 1962 Suggs retired to Delray Beach, Florida, and Sea Island, Georgia, where she conducted clinics, taught golf, and played in exhibitions. She has been inducted into the inaugural class of the LPGA Hall of Fame (1951), the World Golf Hall of Fame (1979), the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame in the Pioneer Category (1987), and the inaugural class of LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Hall of Fame (2000), and she was the first woman inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame (1966). In 2000 the LPGA created the Louise Suggs Trophy, which is awarded to the Rolex Rookie of the Year.
Media Gallery: Louise Suggs (b. 1923)