Sheehan, a 35-time LPGA champion and LPGA Tour Hall of Famer since 1993, led the U.S. Solheim Cup team to victory in the 2002 Solheim Cup and will also captain the 2003 squad.
I just dont know what to say, said Sheehan. Im completely shocked and cant believe it. This is one of the highest honors you can get in golf. Its really been a special year for me, especially for not having played on Tour that much. Patty (Berg) is such a special person and is the epitome of the LPGA and what the LPGA is all about. To win an award in her name, I am so amazed and am just speechless.
It has been quite a year for Sheehan. In addition to leading the U.S. Team to a 15 - 12 victory at the Solheim Cup, she was one of 7,200 torchbearers to carry the Olympic flame during the Olympic torch run for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in her home city of Reno, Nev. She also won the 2002 Copps Great Lakes Classic on the Womens Senior Golf Tour (WSGT), the official senior tour of the LPGA.
Sheehan has enjoyed an impressive LPGA career, which began in 1980. She was named 1981 Rookie of the Year, Rolex Player of the Year in 1983 and won the 1984 Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average. Six of her 35 career victories came in major championships: LPGA Championship (1983-84, 1993); U.S. Womens Open (1992, 1994) and Nabisco Dinah Shore (1996). She was recognized during the LPGAs 50th Anniversary in 2000 as one of the LPGA s top 50 players and teachers.
Patty is an extremely deserving recipient of this award, said Ty Votaw, commissioner of the LPGA. Just like Patty Berg, Patty Sheehan is a truly special lady, one of the best players in LPGA history and a classy example of success and excellence in the world of golf. Patty is not only a fierce competitor, but is also a loving mother and valued adviser for all of us associated with the LPGA. She embodies everything the Patty Berg Award stands for.
Sheehan won at least one tournament every year from 1981-86 and 1988-96, with a career best five wins coming in 1990. In addition to her 35 LPGA victories, she has also won four professional international events. Along with her six major titles, she also finished as runner up in major championships six times throughout her career. Sheehan, who has earned more than $5.5 million during her career, competed as a member of the U.S. Solheim Cup Team in 1990, 1992, 1994 and 1996.
Im so happy that Patty has won this award, said Berg. Shes just a great and wonderful lady, and Im honored to have my name and my award associated with her. I was at the Solheim Cup this year to see her lead the U.S. team to victory and am confident that her team will win again in Sweden next year. As a fellow LPGA Tour Hall of Famer, I have known Patty for some time and have a lot of respect for her as a player and person.
The 1994 Flo Hyman Award winner, Sheehan was inducted into the Collegiate Golf Hall of Fame in 1990 and received the 1988 Charles Bartlett Award from the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA) for her unselfish contributions to the betterment of society. She was one of eight athletes featured on Sports Illustrateds annual Sportsman of the Year cover in 1987.
In 1986, she was honored with the Samaritan Award, and was named Female Player of the Year by the GWAA in 1984 and 1993. As an amateur, Sheehan won the 1980 AIAW National Championship title and was an undefeated member of the 1980 U.S. Curtis Cup Team. She also won the 1977 and 1978 California Womens Amateur championships and won the Nevada State Amateur from 1975 78.
A mother of two, Sheehan is also a golf course design consultant for the Greenhorn Creek Golf Course in Angels Camp, Calif., Rancharrah in Reno, Nev., and Gold Mountain in Portola, Calif.
A five person selection committee chooses the Patty Berg Award recipient, which is given to an individual who, like Berg, exemplifies diplomacy, sportsmanship, goodwill and contributions to the game of golf. Past recipients of the award are: Marilynn Smith (1979); Betsy Rawls (1980); Ray Volpe (1984); Dinah Shore (1985); David Foster (1986); Kathy Whitworth (1987); John D. Laupheimer (1988); Patty Berg (1990); Karsten Solheim (1991); Judy Dickinson (1992); Kerry Graham (1993); Charles S. Mechem Jr. (1994); Suzanne Jackson (1996); Judy Bell (1997); Judy Rankin (1999); Louise Suggs (2000); and Pat Bradley (2001).