Mickey Wright, One of the Greatest Players in Women’s Golf, Dies at 85

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Wright spoke of a competitive fire that complemented that form.

“The great winners in golf — Hogan, Nicklaus, Jones, you might have to think about Tiger Woods — they were all great swingers, but their inner drive was off the charts, too,” she told Sports Illustrated in 2000. Asked if she would include herself in that list, she replied, “Yes, I would.”

Wright captured five straight Vare trophies for lowest scoring average on the tour (1960 to 1964) and she twice shot L.P.G.A.-record rounds of 62. She was inducted into L.P.G.A. Hall of Fame in 1964 and the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1976.

“She sort of revolutionized golf for us because she was so good and her swing was so perfect,” Betsy Rawls, who won eight majors, told The A.P. in 2006. “Even though we were competitors, she was a joy to watch.”

Wright described her swing in the 1962 (and reprinted) instructional “Play Golf the Wright Way.”

“I could hit it so well,” she told The New York Times in a 2012 telephone interview. “I used to say the second-greatest feeling in the world was a high 2-iron to a well-trapped green.”

Asked about the greatest feeling, she replied: “Winning.”

Mary Kathryn Wright was born on Feb. 14, 1935, in San Diego and was introduced to golf by her father, Arthur, a lawyer and a weekend player.

By age 14, immersed in golf lessons, she had begun developing her swing, keeping her wrist cocked as long as possible as she addressed the ball and staying away from an emphasis on arm motion, something that most women of the era used, resulting in relatively short drives and iron play.


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