It is quite an honor to receive this award in Heathers name, Williams said. Heather was a friend of mine, but I could never match up to her grace and perseverance. Heather was the perfect example of grace under fire. This is an incredible honor. Knock on wood, this year was good, and I did not have any medical or health setbacks.
In 2002, Williams recorded a season-best finish at the Asahi Ryokuken International Championship at Mount Vintage, where she tied for sixth. She played in 22 events in 2002, a very active season following one of the most difficult years of her career.
Kim is very deserving of this award in recognition of her perseverance following some very difficult hardships,' said LPGA Commissioner Ty M.Votaw. 'Her dedication in returning to the game of golf has been an incredible inspiration to those around her. She has rebounded from some very tough times, which shows her will and passion in following her dreams. Congratulations to her.'
Williams life and golf career have been interrupted several times. Yet, each time she has demonstrated an endless amount of will and determination to not only recover, but return to her passion. competitive golf.
On Jan. 12, 2001, Williams was leaving the Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando after playing the first round of the YourLife Vitamins LPGA Classic when an oncoming driver swerved into her lane, hitting her head-on. Williams was rushed to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where she underwent knee surgery the next morning.
Williams injuries included a broken left collarbone, a displaced sternum, torn cartilage in her ribs, a strained left hip flexor and a deep cut on her right knee into the joint. After four months of rehabilitation, she returned to competition on May 4, 2001, at the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez.
Williams daily rehabilitation in Orlando lasted four hours a day, three to four days a week. During the rehabilitation period, she had a myomectomy to remove a large fibroid in her abdomen.
Back surgery in September, 1998, kept her off the Tour for all but eight events in 1999, and she lost her exempt status. But in 2000, despite competing in only 14 tournaments due to her non-exempt status, Williams enjoyed one of the most successful seasons of her career. She posted three top-10 finishes and tied for 11th at the du Maurier Classic, her best finish in a major championship.
In 1994, Williams was struck in the neck by a stray bullet while walking into a drugstore during the week of an LPGA tournament in Ohio. Miraculously, the bullet didnt result in major injury, and she went on to finish 10th at the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic the next week.
In 1994, the LPGA established the Heather Farr Player Award to celebrate the life of Farr, an LPGA Tour player who died on Nov. 20, 1993, following a four-and-a-half-year battle with breast cancer. The award recognizes an LPGA Tour player who, through her hard work, dedication and love of the game of golf, has demonstrated determination, perseverance and spirit in fulfilling her goals as a player, qualities for which Farr is so fondly remembered.
Past recipients are Heather Farr, 1994; Shelley Hamlin, 1995; Martha Nause, 1996; Terry-Jo Myers, 1997; Lorie Kane, 1998; Nancy Scranton, 1999; Brandie Burton, 2000; and Kris Tschetter 2001.