The LPGA tournament is renaming its winners trophy in memory of Dowd, the Palm Harbor, Fla., woman whose fight against breast cancer made international headlines two years ago when her then-13-year-old daughter, Dakoda, played in the event.
Now, the Ginn winner will receive what is being called The Kelly Jo Dowd Championship Trophy.
The Dowd family means a great deal to the Ginn Open and we are honored to be associated with them, Ginn Resorts president and CEO Bobby Ginn, who issued the invitation to Dakoda two years ago to play in his event, said in a statement. Kelly Jo was a remarkable woman and she deserves having this trophy named after her.
Kelly Jo Dowd died in May 2007 at the age of 42.
Seeing Dakoda play against LPGA players was one of Kelly Jo Dowds last wishes during her yearslong battle to stay alive, and when Ginn officials heard of the familys story, they decided to issue the teen a sponsors exemption into the field for the event at Reunion, Fla.
Dakoda Dowd flirted with making the cut that week, shooting a 2-over 74 in the opening round, followed by an 82 in the second round.
The Dowd family chose to go public with their story, even with the knowledge that Kelly Jos death was expected, in order to bring attention to the importance of women self-examining themselves for cancer and to raise money for charities assisting in the fight against the disease. Shortly before the tournament, the family was told Kelly Jo would have only a few months to live.
One of the compelling images of that week at Reunion two years ago was Kelly Jos reaction when she was presented with a replica of the winners trophy, a large glass bowl designed by famed artist Dale Chihuly. She and Dakoda both marveled over the piece earlier in the week, not knowing they would be taking one exactly like it home with them as a souvenir.
We are so extremely proud of, again, Mr. Ginns gesture of naming that wonderful trophy after my beautiful late wife and Dakodas mom, said Mike Dowd, Dakodas father. Its exciting, very, very exciting to keep Kelly Jos legacy going like that.
This years Ginn Open begins April 17