FAR HILLS, N.J. – Mickey Wright was one of the greatest golfers in the history of the LPGA. Her swing was admired by legends of the game such as Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and Tom Watson as the best of any professional golfer, male or female.
"I wanted to watch her swing when we played together but you couldn't really because you had to pay attention to your own game," said fellow Hall of Famer JoAnne Carner. "But I always loved to watch her practice, even though it was hard to get her to stay long enough for you to really see" her swing.
Wright, winner of 82 events including 13 majors, has donated more than 200 personal artifacts to the United States Golf Association Museum. The newly created Mickey Wright Room at the museum will open next month, joining galleries dedicated to Hogan, Bob Jones and Arnold Palmer.
Carner and LPGA Tour stars Morgan Pressel, Wendy Ward and So Yeon Ryu were present Tuesday as the USGA previewed the collection at a reception.
Wright, now 76, who captured 79 of her tournament titles between 1957 and 1968, is the first woman to have a display in her honor.
"It's just so wonderful," Carner said. "She was a four-time U.S. Open champion and to have (the USGA) do it is just amazing. No one has ever honored a woman before in golf. They had a women's championship in the second year of the USGA, about 1895 or something like that. They've been active in women's golf. So to have them finally do it is terrific."
Wright, who holds the LPGA record for most victories in a year with 13 in 1963, told Golfweek she sent 34 boxes of artifacts and memorabilia to the USGA. The material includes medals, trophies, awards and films from her career, including the 1955 Bulls-Eye putter that she used in 81 of her 82 victories.
"This is a here and now and forever feeling that honors not just me, but the history of women's golf," Wright said in a USGA release. "This is also for all the women who came before me – the Patty Bergs, Louise Suggses and Betsy Rawlses. It's a tribute to their tenacity in making women's golf a legitimate, recognized national sport."