NAPLES, Fla. – Juli Inkster was presented the William & Mousie Powell Award by the entire U.S. Solheim Cup team that she led to victory in Germany in September, an award that recognizes Inkster for demonstrating “the exceptional spirit, values and ideals of the LPGA.”
South Korea’s Sei Young Kim showed humor and graciousness as the Louise Suggs LPGA Rookie of the Year winner, giving a stirring, heartfelt speech in English just 10 months after requiring a translator in the trophy presentation in the Bahamas after winning the first of her three LPGA titles this season.
CME Group chairman and president Terry Duffy delivered an entertaining acceptance speech as winner of the LPGA’s Commissioner’s Award that would have made a stand-up comic proud.
LPGA founder Shirley Spork was presented the Patty Berg Award for sportsmanship by fellow founder Marilynn Smith.
Long-time Golf World and former Associated Press golf writer Ron Sirak shared stories of building trust and balancing relationships with players as he accepted the LPGA Media Excellence Award.
Those were some of the highlights of Thursday night’s Rolex Awards gala at the Ritz Carlton after the CME Group Tour Championship’s first round.
Other awards and winners:
Rolex Annika Major Award – Park received the award for the best performance in the major championships this year. Annika Sorenstam, whom the award is named after, presented the award.
Heather Farr Perseverance Award – Stephanie Meadow, who learned at the start of her rookie season this year that her devoted father, Robert, was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. Meadow left the game at year’s start to help her mother in the management of her father’s care before his death in May. LPGA president Vicki Goetze-Ackerman was in tears detailing Meadow’s perseverance helping her family through the ordeal in Meadow’s first LPGA season.
Ellen Griffin Rolex Award – Dana Rader won the honor for her major contribution to teaching in a way that exemplifies Griffin’s love and dedication to students. Rader runs the Dana Rader School of Golf in Charlotte, N.C.