Paving the way for female athletes
Born in Minneapolis in 1918, Patricia Jane Berg started out fast and never slowed down. An all-around athlete, she took up golf after her parents persuaded her to give up the quarterback position for her neighborhood football team, the 50th Street Tigers. At age sixteen, she won the Minneapolis City Championship. She won twenty-eight more golf titles before turning pro in 1940.
In 1948, Berg became a founding member and the first president of the Ladies' Professional Golf Association. She then entered her professional prime, winning fifty-seven tournaments on the LPGA tour and, in 1959, became the first woman to hit a hole-in-one in a U.S. Golf Association competition.
Berg battled back from setbacks throughout her life-a 1941 car accident that sidelined her for eighteen months, a bout with cancer, and hip and back surgeries. Through it all, she continued to rack up victories, conduct clinics, and live up to her nickname, "Dynamite". "If I could do it all over again, I'd do it the same way," she once said of her career.
The University of Minnesota established the Berg Scholarship Fund in 1976, which helps cover tuition, textbook fees, and room and board for female student-athletes. The LPGA established the Patty Berg Award in 1978 to recognize people who embody Berg's "diplomacy, sportsmanship, goodwill and contributions to the game of golf."
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