Breaking 100 Gala Recap
HOUSTON – More than 270 people packed the ballroom at Houston Country Club on Tuesday night to pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of Women’s Golf in Texas. A yearlong campaign with several facets reached its culmination with the festive and memorable Breaking 100 Gala, presented by the Texas Golf Association.
An all-star panel of living legends provided the evening’s highlight. Icons of the game Sandra Haynie, Carol Mann, Sandra Palmer, Judy Rankin and Kathy Whitworth took part in a lively panel discussion about women’s golf. The five Hall of Famers swapped stories and shared insights on Texas’ sentinel role in piloting the women’s game from the earliest days to the modern era.
Over the past century, trailblazing women golfers from Texas fueled the meteoric growth of the women’s game not only in the United States, but across the world. Three of the original founders of the LPGA – Babe Zaharias, Bettye Danoff and Betty Jameson – won WTGA State Amateur titles in their formative years. They cut their teeth in Texas amateur golf and went on to impact the game globally. Many of the all-time greats of the game came from Texas or have strong ties to the Lone Star State.
Tuesday night’s Gala celebrated all of them.
Palmer, a two-time major champion who was inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame in 1985, told the audience she was a “True Texan” based on her love of chicken-fried steak, country music and cowboy boots. Whitworth and Haynie, two World Golf Hall of Fame members with 129 LPGA Tour wins and 10 major titles between them, needled each other throughout the night. Whitworth’s 88 victories are the most all-time for any professional. She notched her first win in 1962 after Haynie three-putted on the final hole. To the amusement of the attendees, it seems Haynie isn’t over it just yet.
Rankin, the popular Golf Channel analyst, is a two-time LPGA Tour Player of the Year who went into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2000. Born in St. Louis, Rankin married a Texan in 1967 and has lived in the Lone Star State ever since. She quipped that next year marks her 50th as a resident, which should qualify her as a naturalized Texan. The dinner guests’ ovation served as approval.
The dinner, along with several parts of the program that were launched in January, raised more than $120,000 for the TGA’s suite of Women’s Initiatives, including the “Winner’s Program” and “Texas Challenge,” two junior golf development enterprises that promote excellence in golf and the classroom. Other beneficiaries include the ‘Nez Muhleman/Doris Kallina college scholarship program and Golf 101, a new program in development for introduction in 2018. The program brings together LPGA teaching pros, golf course operators and beginning women golfers to grow the game and enrich lives.
“It has been such a great honor to bring together Texas’ greatest women for this event. We had players representing seven different decades of amateur golf and more than 200 LPGA titles in the room,” said TGA Managing Director of Membership Programs and two-time WTGA State Amateur Champion Stacy Dennis, who took the lead role in organizing every part of the Breaking 100 campaign. “Golf truly builds community and that was certainly on display. It is exciting to think about what we’ll do in the next 100 years.”
The TGA is still accepting donations to help support the future of Women’s Golf in Texas. For more information, click here.
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