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Arizona State's Missy Farr-Kaye plans to keep coaching this spring despite colon cancer diagnosis

Arizona State's head coach Missy Farr-Kaye talks with the Golf Channel after her team's NCAA victory at Rich Harvest Farms in 2017.

Steve Woltmann

Arizona State’s Missy Farr-Kaye has stared down breast cancer twice in her life and gone on to become a success story in women’s college golf, overseeing ASU’s NCAA title team in 2017. Revealing on Tuesday that she’s begun chemotherapy once more after being diagnosed with colon cancer in November, she sounded upbeat that she’ll be able to do the same this time.

“My doctors are optimistic as we caught it early and treatments have begun,” Farr-Kaye, 53, said in a statement. “And we are confident being cancer free will happen.”

It’s Farr-Kaye’s intention to continue coaching the Sun Devils, along with assistant Michelle Estill, as much as she can during the spring as they resume play for the first time since the 2019-20 college season was abrupted postponed last March due to the coronavirus.

The Sun Devils are scheduled to compete in their first tournament since the pandemic later this month at Gold Canyon. The team is led by Linn Grant, who recently was on the leader board into the third round of the U.S. Women’s Open, and Olivia Mehaffey, a four-time All-American, and is expected to contend for both the Pac-12 and NCAA titles.

“Our focus will be on the incredible spring we want to have after not playing this past fall and having last spring taken away,” Farr-Kaye said. “There is room for more trophies on the shelf, and I look forward to being a big part of making that happen.”

The anxiousness to get back to competition is understandable for Farr-Kaye, in her sixth season as the Sun Devils’ head coach. This year’s NCAA Championship is scheduled to be played on ASU’s home course, Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, May 21-26.

Farr-Kaye, shown with Arizona State's Monica Vaughan at the 2017 NCAA Championship, hopes to coach this spring while undergoing treatment for cancer, with the goal of getting her team back to nationals.

Steve Woltmann

Farr-Kaye first fought and overcame breast cancer in 1997, four years after her older sister, Heather Farr, a rising star on the LPGA Tour, died from the disease at age 28. The disease returned in July 2008, when Farr-Kaye was working as an assistant women’s coach at ASU. Her fight helped inspire the team to win the 2009 NCAA title at Caves Valley Golf Club outside Baltimore.