Betty Jameson was a pioneer in women's golf, helping found the LPGA as well as the women's pro tour that preceded the LPGA. She won big tournaments in the 1940s and 1950s.
Date of birth: May 9, 1919
Place of birth: Norman, Oklahoma
Date of death: Feb. 7, 2009
• U.S. Women's Open: 1947
• Western Open: 1942, 1954
• U.S. Women's Amateur: 1939, 1940
Awards and Honors:
• Member, World Golf Hall of Fame
• Member, Women's Sports Foundation Hall of Fame
• In 1952, Betty Jameson donated a trophy in honor of Glenna Collett Vare to be awarded to the tour's low scorer each year. The Vare Trophy is still presented annually to the LPGA golfer with the lowest scoring average.
• Jameson has the distinction of being the first female golfer to score lower than 300 in a 72-hole tournament, posting a 295 in winning the 1947 U.S. Women's Open.
Betty Jameson Biography:
Although her win total of 13 doesn't stack up to some of her contemporaries, Betty Jameson was one of the most important figures in women's golf in the 1940s and early 1950s.
Jameson's first significant win was the Texas Public Links championship, which she took in 1932 when she was 13 years old. She won numerous top amateur events in the 1930s and 1940s, culminating in back-to-back U.S. Women's Amateur titles in 1939-40. In 1942, Jameson won both the Women's Western Open - counted today as a major championship - and the Western Amateur, the first woman to win both in the same year.
In 1945, Jameson turned pro when she was hired by Spalding to travel the country conducting golf clinics. She also cofounded the Women's Professional Golf Association, the predecessor of the LPGA.
Jameson set a new standard for women's golf with a score of 295 in winning the 1947 U.S. Women's Open. It was the first time any woman completed a 72-hole tournament in fewer than 300 strokes.
She went on to be one of the 13 cofounders of the LPGA, and, along with Marlene Hagge, was one of the tour's first "glamour girls." The World Golf Hall of Fame calls Jameson "a tall, stylish woman" whose "long, graceful swing was much admired," and the Hall says that Jameson was one of the "Big Four" of LPGA stars, along with Patty Berg, Babe Didrikson Zaharias and Louise Suggs.
It was Jameson who came up with the idea to recognize the tour's low scorer each year, and donated the trophy, which she named in honor of her hero, Glenna Collett Vare.
Jameson was a solid performer in the tour's early existence, winning three times in 1952 and four times in 1954. But she later admitted to losing a lot of interest in her career during this time - she loved match play, but wasn't as keen on stroke play.
The last of Jameson's 13 credited wins was in 1955, and her last full year on tour was 1963. After retiring for good in 1970, Jameson taught golf and enjoyed success as a painter.