Women’s Western Golf Association


WWGA’s Woman of Distinction Award


Woman of Distinction Award


The Woman of Distinction Award was first presented to Patty Berg in 1994.  It is given to women who have displayed leadership qualities, involvement and commitment to the game on either the amateur or professional level. 

The honoree will have also participated in or won a Women’s Western tournament.  Other professional recipients who have received the award include Louise Suggs, Nancy Lopez, Peggy Kirk Bell, Betty Jameson, Wiffi Smith, Carol Mann and most recently Kathy Whitworth.

Amateur recipients include Carol Semple Thompson and WWGA Directors:  June Beebe Atwood, Alice Dye, Judy Bell, Ann Upchurch and Co McArthur




Golf, Ill. … October 9, 2015 … The Women’s Western Golf Association (WWGA) “Woman of Distinction” award was first presented to Patty Berg in 1994.  It is awarded to women who have displayed leadership qualities, involvement and commitment to the game on either the amateur or professional level.  The honoree will have participated in or have won a WWGA tournament and/or made significant contributions to the Association.

This year’s honoree is Marlene Streit.  She was born in Cereal, Alberta, Canada and graduated from Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla.  In 1947 she began caddying and started to play golf in 1949; she was taught to play and coached her entire career by Golf Professional Gordon McInnis, Sr.

An outstanding golfer, she is the only woman in history to have won the British Ladies’ Amateur, USGA Women’s Amateur, Australian Women’s Amateur and the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur (3 times.)  Other victories include winning the North/South Championship twice; a 4-time Helen Lee Doherty Champion; a 7-time Doherty Senior Division Champion; Women’s International Four-Ball Championship twice, the first time in 1956 with Ann Casey Johnston (who was the 1960 and 1961 WWGA Amateur Champion) and then again – 40 years later when she won in 2003 with partner Carol Semple Thompson (also a “Woman of Distinction” honoree.)

In Canada she is regarded as the most successful Canadian Amateur having won 24 Canadian Ladies’ Golf Association championships which include:  11 Amateurs, 9 Close and 4 Seniors.  She also won copious Ontario Ladies Golf Championship starting in 1951 through 2003 that included Junior, Amateur and Senior Championships.

Streit won a total of 30 national or international amateur championships with at least one championship in each decade and has the distinct honor of winning on three different continents outside of Canada.  In her home country of Canada she claims 24 wins; United States four wins and one each in Great Britain and Australia.  She has “Honorary Life Memberships” in 16 Canadian golf clubs; outside of Canada has one in Wales and three in United States clubs.


WWGA Directors - Susan Wagner & Audrey Peterson


WWGA 2012 Woman of Distinction Honoree

Considered “A Living Legend in the World of Golf,” Mickey Wright, LPGA, is the 2012 recipient of the Women’s Western Golf Association’s “Woman of Distinction” award.  She was the premier LPGA player during the 1960’s with a swing noted by Ben Hogan to have been the best in golf.  While her name is often mentioned in the same breath as Hogan, Sam Snead and Bobby Jones, her swing was, and possibly still remains, a picture of perfection.

By the age of 27, Miss Wright had won all four majors; by the age of 28, she had won the four majors – twice and was semi-retired at the age of 34.  One of the greatest players in LPGA history, she has 82 tournament titles and ranks second in all-time career LPGA wins behind Kathy Whitworth (2010 WWGA Woman of Distinction honoree) who has 88.  Whitworth said, “The Western Open (I think) was one of her favorite championships, particularly the one held in Madison, Wisconsin in 1963.  It was played at Maple Bluff Country Club, a beautiful course with narrow fairways, big trees and elevated greens.  She always spoke fondly of the event as one of her favorite courses.  She almost lapped the field on her way to winning by nine shots, I know, because I was the one who finished second!”

Wright is a five-time Vare Trophy winner (1960-64) and is the only player in LPGA history to hold all four major titles at the same time.   She won the final two majors of the year in 1961, the U. S. Women’s Open and the LPGA Championship, and then took the first two majors of 1962, the Titleholders Championship and the WOMEN’S WESTERN OPEN.

Click Here to Read More about Mickey...

Kathy Whitworth


Golf, Ill. …. September 30, 2010 …. When talking about women’s golf there’s a name that stands out above the rest, an icon, a legend, that name is Kathy Whitworth.   Kathy was born in Texas but spent most of her childhood in New Mexico.  She started playing golf at age 15 – late by some standards.  She won the New Mexico State Amateur twice and attended college in Odessa, Tex. before turning Professional in 1958.  It would take her four years to get her first LPGA win but once it happened there was no stopping and her career took off with flying colors.

She holds the record for Tour victories with the magic number of 88, more than any golfer (man or woman) on any individual Tour.  Kathy won at least one tournament each and every year from 1962 through 1978 with many big seasons in the mix having as many as 10 wins in one year!  Some of her major Championships include:

·         LPGA Championship in 1967, 1971 and 1975

·         Titleholders in 1965 and 1966 

·         Women’s Western Open in 1967

Some of Kathy’s Awards and Honors include:

·         She is a Member of the World Golf Hall of Fame

·         A member of the LPGA Golf Hall of Fame

·         An 8-time LPGA Tour Money leader

·         7-time LPGA Vare Trophy winner (that’s given for scoring)

·         7-time LPGA ‘Player of the Year’ winner

·         Associated Press ‘Athlete of the Year’ – winning that award


·         She served three terms as President of the LPGA

·         Was the first Captain of the U. S. Solheim Cup

·         She’s a Member of the Women’s Sports Foundation Hall of Fame

After her LPGA Tour career ended, Kathy continued playing in senior events and has become a highly respected teacher of the game.  Kathy continues to inspire golfers of all ages through her dedication to the sport.  Each year she holds the KATHY WHITWORTH INVITATIONAL which benefits the ‘Boys & Girls Club of Greater Fort Worth,’ an organization serving more than 9,000 disadvantaged youths.

The Women’s Western established the “Woman of Distinction” award in 1994 and is given to women who have displayed outstanding leadership qualities with involvement and commitment to the game.  The honoree shall have participated in or won a Women’s Western tournament.   Kathy Whitworth meets all that criteria – and then some!

At the WWGA’s Annual Meeting held at Lake Shore Country Club in Glencoe, Ill., Kathy was presented with the Award and will have her name inscribed on the trophy along with past professional honorees including Patty Berg, Louise Suggs, Peggy Kirk Bell, Nancy Lopez, Betty Jameson, Wiffi Smith and Carol Mann.  Amateur recipients include:  June Beebe Atwood, Alice Dye, Ann Upchurch, Judy Bell, Carol Semple Thompson and Co McArthur.   The award is given biennially.



Carol was a highly successful LPGA tour professional from 1961 through 1981 winning 38 tournaments including two major titles, the 1964 Women’s Western Open and the 1965 US Open at Atlantic City Country Club. All of her victories came within 11 years, 1964-1975.  Her illustrious amateur career included winning the 1958 WWGA Junior Championship held at the Inverness Golf Club in Palatine, Illinois.

Between 1973 and mid 1976, she served as president of that association and was responsible for major organizational structure changes such as the naming of its first Commissioner and Board of Directors to help shift to greater business, television and marketing focus. Prize money increased by over 800% and television exposure went up by 600% within four years.

Carol was under contract to NBC television for seven years, from 1977 through 1984 for broadcasts of the PGA, Champions and LPGA Tours. She has also worked for ABC, ESPN and a host of syndicated golf productions.

Carol achieved LPGA (1977) and now World Golf Hall of Fame (1998) status. She is an honorary member of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Division and a member of the PGA of America. Carol has received numerous awards for her contributions to women's golf, women's sports, education, and career development.

She was elected to membership in the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame, the Collegiate Golf Hall of Fame, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Athletic Hall of Fame, and was selected as one of the 100 Heroes of American Golf in 1988.  Carol is a member of the USGA, National Golf Foundation, Shivas Irons Society, Women's Sports Foundation, and locally, serves Rice University on the Women's Athletics 100 Club.

Between 1980 and 2002, Carol created and produced golf hospitality programs for Fortune 100 and 500 companies on the PGA and Champions Tours. Typically, these companies will invite 200 guests each day. Carol has been the golf host and responsible for all golf communications. Her major client since 1980 through the 2002 was AT&T, with over 150 programs being developed and presented at professional golf tournaments. Other major clients have been U S West, Nynex, and Bell Atlantic. This activity has allowed Carol to closely witness the growth, changes in and popularity of men's professional golf during the past 22 years.

Ms. Mann has given speeches to corporate and non-profit groups all over the country, as well as conducting over 700 golf clinics.

Carol has authored a book, The 19th Hole; a long running and award winning golf column for the now defunct Houston Post; many articles for golf publications; former Professional Advisor to Senior Golfer Magazine.

She makes appearances at trade shows, industry meetings, speeches, corporate hospitality programs, golf outings, produced the first golf shows on the QVC network, and golf clinics.

Carol has consulted with established and emerging golf companies, providing recommendations, feasibility studies, strategic planning, product development and specifications, market demographics and definitions, and business directions. Formerly with Wilson Golf for 35 years, Carol has served the innovative Adams Golf Company.

Currently, along with Gary Player and Ben Crenshaw, Ms. Mann is a special Ambassador and consultant for the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida. She recently produced the renowned Ben Hogan exhibit commemorating Hogan's three major wins in 1953 as well as the exhibit documenting the 2003 historic performance of Annika Sorenstam at the Bank of America Colonial tournament on the PGA Tour.

In 2005 Towson University, near Baltimore, hired Carol to serve as a Special Consultant for the men and women's Division 1 golf teams.

In addition, Carol is associated with The Woodlands Country Club, The Woodlands, Texas to provide teaching and player development services for its members and guests. Carol coaches aspiring players of all ages and levels of skill. Golf Digest recently named her one of the top teachers in Texas.

As a member of the women's sports community Carol believed it was important to influence the direction of women's sports. Along with other prominent women athletes, she has advocated for Title IX with three Presidents of the United States, Carter, Reagan, and Bush, along with members of Congress. The Women's Sports Foundation elected her president from 1985 through 1990. During that time one initiative she developed and conducted a three million dollar fundraising campaign for this non-profit group. She served on its Board of Trustees from 1980 through 1991.

Ms. Mann continues to make charity important. As Honorary Chairman of the Rice Golf Classic since 1993, an all-women's fund-raiser for women's athletics at Rice University, that program has gained over $470,000.

Carol attended Woman's College of the University of North Carolina, now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she majored in Physical Education. She turned professional in October of 1960. Married in 1979 to fellow professional golfer, Jim Hardy, but the couple divorced in 1988. Ms. Mann lives in The Woodlands, Texas with her cat, Boo Boo. Carol loves to garden and learns from an intense Bible study program.








At the WWGA’s Annual Meeting held during the 28th National Senior Championship at Hershey Country Club, Hershey, Pa., President Barbara H. West announced that BETTY JAMESON is the 2006 recipient of the Women’s Western Golf Association’s Woman of Distinction Award.

Betty has a long and illustrious golfing career.  She is one of the 13 founders of the LPGA and won 13 events during her career – 12 as a pro and one as an amateur. 

Born in Norman, Okla., she began playing golf at age 11.  She was an accomplished amateur winning 14 significant championships before turning pro in 1945.  She won the 1932 Texas Publinx title at age 13 and the Southern Championship when she was 15. 

Her major victory as an amateur was the 1942 Women’s Western Open, then a major championship (held from 1930-1967.)  During that year she became the first player to win the Women’s Western Open and the 42nd Women’s Western Amateur Championship.  She was the Finalist at the 1937 WWGA Amateur and won the tournament in 1940 as well as in 1942.  Betty was the runner-up at the 1949 WWGA Open Championship when Louise Suggs took home the title.  She was runner-up to Betsy Rawls in 1952 and won the championship again in 1954 when she defeated Louise Suggs.

She conceived the idea of annually honoring the golfer with the lowest scoring average on the LPGA Tour and in 1952 donated a trophy for that purpose in the name of Glenna Collett Vare.  In 1967 when the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame was instigated, Betty was one of the six inaugural inductees.  She was inducted into the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Hall of Fame in 1999 and at the LPGA’s 50th anniversary (in 2000) was honored as one of the LPGA’s top-50 players and teachers.  In 2004, August 14th was proclaimed “Betty Jameson Day” in Delray Beach, Fla. to commemorate her career accomplishments.

Previous recipients of this prestigious award include Patty Berg, June Beebe Atwood, Alice Dye, Ann Upchurch, Louise Suggs, Judy Bell, Nancy Lopez, Carol Semple Thompson, Co McArthur, Wiffi Smith and Peggy Kirk Bell.




Peggy Kirk Bell
2005 WWGA Woman of Distinction

PEGGY KIRK BELL is one of America’s best known, most admired and most honored golf celebrities.

As an amateur in the 1940s, Peggy was one of the nation’s best players.  She played in many WWGA tournaments … in 1949 she was the Finalist in the Women’s Western Amateur Championship held at Westmoreland Country Club in Wilmette, Ill.  In 1950 she was Runner-up to Babe Zaharias at the Women’s Western Open held at Cherry Hills Country Club, Englewood, Colo.  Peggy won the coveted WWGA Marion Miley Trophy in 1948 and again in 1950.  The trophy, a 14K gold bracelet, was awarded to the low qualifier in the WWGA Amateur and WWGA Open.  During the 1940s she also won the Ohio Women’s Amateur three times and captured the North and South Amateur in Pinehurst.  Other major wins were the Eastern Amateur and the Augusta Titleholders.

Bell was a charter member of the LPGA.  As an amateur, she teamed with Babe Zaharias to capture the International Four Ball and was a member of the USGA Curtis Cup team in 1950.

Author of many books on golf, she has produced instructional videotapes including:  How to Play Your Best Golf and “Women’s Golf” and is a frequent contributor to many national golf publications.

Bell moved to Southern Pines, N.C. in 1953 when she and her late husband (Warren) purchased Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club.  She became owner of Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club, also in Southern Pines, in 1994.  Both resorts feature classic Donald Ross golf courses that date to the mid 1920s.  When the Bells purchased Pine Needles in 1953, one of her first projects was establishing a unique series of golf schools called “Golfaris”.  She is a pioneer in the creation of golf schools and is one of the game’s finest teachers.

Throughout her career as a player and resort owner, Mrs. Bell has been a tireless contributor to the game of golf.  For her many contributions she has been the recipient of numerous major awards including the USGA’s Bob Jones Award; the Golf Writer’s Association’s William Richardson Award, the National Golf Course Owners Order of Merit award and now, Bell can add the coveted Women’s Western’s Woman of Distinction Award.  She is in four Golf Halls of Fame, a Master Golf Professional, active in a number of civic, charitable and sports organizations including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

The USGA awarded Pine Needles the 1996 U.S. Women’s Open where Bell served as Honorary Chairman.  The event returned in 2001 and will be held again at Pine Needles in 2007.

The WWGA is proud to award this

honor to Peggy Kirk Bell!



McArthur and Smith Receive
2004 Woman of Distinction Awards

WWGA Director, Co McArthur Receives
2004 Woman of Distinction Award

Corine McArthur, affectionately known as Co or Cozy, to her many friends and fellow Directors of the Women's Western Golf Association and Foundation, received the WWGA's 2004 Woman of Distinction Award at the Maple Bluff Country Club in Madison, Wisconsin.

Co joined the WWGA in 1968 and has been in charge of the scoreboards for the three National Championships for many years.  She has also been the foundation Secretary and has ably managed the Foundation's nationwide Scholarship Day.  This is a most important job as it is the Foundation's main source of revenue and yes, Scholarship Day is still McArthur Day across the country!

Co, we thank you for the many years of devoted service to the WWGA and the WWGF. 

Wiffi Smith to be Honored at the
Senior Championship with the
2004 WWGA's Woman of Distinction Award

The Women's Western Golf Association is pleased to announce that the 2004 Woman of Distinction Award will be presented to Wiffi Smith, LPGA, at the Contestants' Dinner, Sunday evening, September 26th, 2004.

Wiffi had an outstanding Amateur career before turning pro in 1957.

Peggy Kirk Bell says of Wiffi..."Wiffi simply had it all, starting with one of the Greatest swings of all time.  She was longer off the tee than anyone, including Mickey Wright and she'd have been the greatest ever, were it not for the accident". 
(Wiffi severely damaged both wrists in a motor-scooter accident)

She has spent many years teaching in Florida, Pine Needles and Colorado and still travels to teaching assignments all over the country.  We are indeed honored to have Wiffi with us and she has graciously consented to give two clinics, which will take place Sunday, September 26th.  One in the morning and one in the afternoon, thereby accommodating the practice round T Times.  Please check clinic times at the Registration Desk.