DUBLIN, Ohio -- LPGA Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez, who burst on the golf scene in 1978 and helped gain publicity for women's golf with her winning game and warm smile, has been named the Memorial Tournament Honoree for 2011.
Lopez, 53, won 48 LPGA Tour titles, including three major championships after a short but successful collegiate career at the University of Tulsa, where she was an All-American and won the Association For Intercollegiate Athletics for Women national golf title. She was winning tournaments as early as age 12 when she captured the New Mexico Amateur. But she truly gained renown in 1978 when she won eight times, including five in a row, to earn both LPGA Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors. She also won the first of two Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year honors.
A native of Torrance, Calif., Lopez also won the first of her three LPGA Championship crowns in '78. She won three more Player of the Year honors in 1979 and '85 and '88. A mother of three daughters, Lopez is the ninth female honored by the Memorial Tournament since its inception in 1976 and the second in three years following JoAnne Carner in 2009.
-- Dave Shedloski