Date of birth: Feb. 18, 1945
Place of birth: St. Louis, Missouri
LPGA Tour Victories:
Yes, it's true, Rankin never won a major. She did win a couple tournaments that were later accorded major championship status, but wre not considered majors in the years of her victories.
Awards and Honors:
• Vare Trophy (low scoring average), 1973, 1976, 1977
• LPGA money leader, 1976, 1977
• LPGA Player of the Year, 1976, 1977
• U.S. Solheim Cup captain, 1996, 1998
• Member, All-American Collegiate Golf Hall of Fame
• Member, Texas Golf Hall of Fame
• Recipient, USGA Bob Jones Award, 2002
• Juli Inkster: "I think she's the epitome of golf. She does so much for the LPGA."
• When she was low amateur at the 1960 U.S. Women's Open, at age 15, she was the youngest ever to finish as low amateur (a record since broken by Michelle Wie).
• She played as Judy Torluemke from 1962-67 and as Judy Torluemke Rankin from 1968-73.
• Rankin's husband's name is Yippy and their son is named Tuey.
Judy Rankin Biography:
Rankin started golfing at age 6. By 1960, she'd already won the Missouri Amateur and finished as low amateur at the U.S. Women's Open. Then she nearly gave up the game.
As a young up-and-comer, she wasn't well-received on Tour at the start. But by the time her career was over, Rankin was a beloved figure among her fellow pros, someone who epitomized sportsmanship and class.
A strong argument can be made that Rankin was the best player on Tour in the early to mid-70s. She won three times in 1970, four times in 1973 (with 25 Top 10 finishes), six times in 1976 and five more in 1977 (again with 25 Top 10 finishes). Her earnings of $150,734 in 1976 nearly doubled the previous record. She won three Vare Trophies, two money titles and two Player of the Year awards in this time period.
What she didn't win, however, was a major championship, something that would always eluded her. Rankin did win the Colgate Dinah Shore Winner's Circle (later renamed the Kraft Nabisco Championship) in 1976 and the Peter Jackson Classic (later renamed the du Maurier Classic) in 1977, two events that would later be elevated to major status, but they are not counted as majors in the years in which Rankin won.
Rankin kept winning through 1979, but her play deteriorated due to the effects of back trouble that was severe and plagued her throughout her best seasons. Her last full year on the LPGA Tour was 1983, when she was 38 years old, and back surgery ended her Tour days in 1985.
Respect and affection for Rankin is immense in the golf community. She served as an LPGA board member and, in 1976-77, Tour president. She was given the Patty Berg Award by the LPGA, the Bob Jones Award by the USGA, and the First Lady of Golf Award by the PGA of America.
When her playing days ended, Rankin embarked on a highly successful career as a golf broadcaster, which included being the first woman to work full-time on broadcasts of men's events.
She was diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer in 2006, but within several months was back at work as a broadcaster.