Monday, September 23, 2013

New Hall of Fame Highlights Legends Week at French Lick Resort

(French Lick, IN) - In a continued effort to honor and show its support for the history of women's golf, French Lick Resort will unveil a new Legends Hall of Fame this week during The Legends Championship presented by Humana.

This new Hall of Fame, which will open later this year and be located inside the historic West Baden Springs Hotel, will honor the Legends of the LPGA and those who have had a major impact on the history of the women's game.

This years inductees, Jan Stephenson and Kathy Whitworth, will be honored during an induction ceremony on Thursday September 26 inside the atrium at the West Baden hotel. Todd Lewis, a member of the Golf Channel, will Emcee the ceremony. Lewis, one of the leading On Air talents for Golf Channel, has been anchoring, reporting, and conducting interviews since 2008.

"With our history of women's golf past, present, and future and the addition of the Legends Championship, it was a natural fit to create a Hall of Fame here at French Lick Resort for these legendary golfers," said Dave Harner, Director of Golf at French Lick Resort. "Stephenson and Whitworth have done so much for women's golf and are perfect choices for our first year of honoring these legendary golfers."

Jan Stephenson's professional golf career spans nearly 40 years, from earning Rookie of the Year honors when she joined the LPGA Tour in 1974 to her current status as career money leader on The Legends Tour, official senior tour of the LPGA. A woman of distinct opinion who speaks her mind directly, Stephenson is as much known for her outside-the-ropes impact on women's golf as she is for her multiple tour victories and major championship titles.

Highlights from Stephenson's career on the LPGA Tour include 16 wins, three of which were major championships. She won the 1983 U.S. Women's Open, 1982 LPGA Championship, and the du Maurier in 1981 when it was known as the Peter Jackson Classic. She was also inducted into the Sports Australia Hall of Fame in 1985.

As an active member of The Legends Tour, Stephenson has competed in 39 events thus far, earning 19 top ten finishes and three victories. She has represented the international team in six Handa Cup competitions. Stephenson also became the first woman to play in a men's Champions Tour event.

Stephenson was one of the first LPGA stars to openly embrace and champion a sex-sells approach to marketing. She became as famous for her sex appeal as her golf during the early to mid-1980s, when she posed in a bathtub - covered up only by the golf balls filling the tub. She also works extensively with many charities, including "Jan for Juniors", a non-profit organization which offers opportunities for the top two Australian female junior golfers to travel to the United States and experience an LPGA Tour event.

Kathy Whitworth is one of the best-known and most successful golf professionals to have ever played the game. Her incredible 88 LPGA Tour victories put her ahead of the class, both male and female, in tournament competition history.

As an amateur, Whitworth captured the New Mexico State Amateur title two consecutive years (1957-58) before turning professional in December 1958 at the age of 19. Her first professional tournament win came in 1962 at the Kelly Girl Open. By 1967, she had already amassed 30 victories on the LPGA Tour and showed little sign of letting up. In the next 18 years, she would win 58 more times, with her last victory coming at the United Virginia Bank Classic in 1985.

In 1975, Whitworth joined six others in the LPGA Hall of Fame. She has also been inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, the New Mexico Hall of Fame, the Texas Sports and Golf Halls of Fame and the Women's Sports Foundation Hall of Fame. Whitworth was the LPGA Tour's leading money winner eight times and has been recognized as LPGA Player of the Year seven times. She is also a seven-time winner of the Vare Trophy and one of only three golfers in LPGA Tour history to have won the same event five times (Orange Blossom Classic). Her major titles include the LPGA Championship (3), the Western Open (1) and the Titleholders Championship. She has been twice recognized by the Associated Press as Female Athlete of the Year and received the Patty Berg Award in 1987.

Whitworth has served as captain of two international team competitions: Solheim Cup and Handa Cup. She was the captain of Team USA in the inaugural Solheim Cup in 1990. She returned as captain in 1992; the U.S. side won both contests. From 2006 to 2011, she led Team USA to six consecutive victories over the internationals in the Handa Cup. She remains a source of inspiration and wisdom to LPGA Legends around the globe, attending Legends pro-am events to the delight of her many devoted fans and fellow players.

"To see the Legends Hall of Fame come to fruition at such a beautiful and historic place as French Lick Resort, and to perpetuate their legacy and honor the incredible contributions these Legends of the LPGA have made, is very exciting," said Jane Blalock, CEO of The Legends Tour. "Inducting inaugural members Kathy Whitworth and Jan Stephenson into the Legends Hall of Fame recognizes and celebrates the impact they've had on women's professional golf across decades of competition. It will be a great tradition at French Lick and for The Legends Tour to honor additional LPGA Legends for years to come."

Whitworth and Stephenson will highlight a field of 60 competitors including six LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame players and six Solheim Cup Captains next week at The Legends Championship presented by Humana Sept 27-29. The players will compete in a 54-hole event for the largest purse on The Legends Tour at $500,000, with the winner earning $75,000.

For additional information on the Legends Hall of Fame or the Legends Championship at French Lick Resort, visit www.frenchlick.com or www.thelegendstour.com.

Contact: NEOhioGolf@yahoo.com

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