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Rankin to Receive Old Tom Morris Award


Judy Rankin, a World Golf Hall of Fame member and television golf commentator, has been selected to receive the 2010 Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA). The award will be presented during the 2010 GCSAA Education Conference on February 9 at 5:30 p.m.

"Judy has always recognized the value of golf course superintendents," GCSAA President Mark D. Kuhns said. "She is one of the great players in the history of the game, making her support of the work of our members even more meaningful and impactful. She is truly a wonderful person and we are pleased to honor her."

GCSAA's most prestigious honor, the Old Tom Morris Award is presented each year to an individual who "through a continuing lifetime commitment to the game of golf has helped to mold the welfare of the game in a manner and style exemplified by Old Tom Morris."

Morris (1821-1908) was greenkeeper and golf professional at the St. Andrews Links Trust Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland; a four-time winner of the British Open (1861, '62, '64 and '67); and ranked as one of the top links designers of the 19th century.

Rankin won the 1959 Missouri Amateur at age 14 and finished as the low amateur in the 1960 U.S. Womenıs Open at 15, the youngest to take such honors until Naree Song broke that record 40 years later. She turned pro in 1962 at 17 and accumulated 28 professional wins, including 26 LPGA Tour victories over the next 20 years.

Rankin finished in the top 10 on the money list 11 times between 1965 and 1979. She was the runner-up at the 1976 LPGA Championship and tied for second at the 1972 U.S. Womenıs Open, 1972 Titleholders Championship, and the 1976 LPGA Championship. Rankin won the Colgate European Open in 1974 and 1977 (forerunner of the Women's British Open), the 1976 Colgate Dinah Shore Winner's Circle (currently the Kraft Nabisco), and the 1977 Peter Jackson Classic (later renamed the duMaurier), three events that would later be elevated to major status, though they were not counted as that in the years she won.

Rankin is a three-time (1973, '76, '77) winner of the LPGA Vare Trophy, given to the player with the lowest scoring average for the season. She was named the LPGA Player of the Year two years in a row in 1976 and '77 - also earning the Golf Writers Association of America Female Player of the Year honors those two seasons, and was the LPGA Tour Money Winner both years as well. Rankin became the first player to win more than $100,000 in a single season on the LPGA Tour in 1976, with earnings of $150,734, and in 1977, she recorded 25, top-10 finishes on tour.

Rankin was forced to retire from full-time competition at age 38 due to chronic back problems. She then embarked on a successful career as a golf commentator for ABC and ESPN, which included being the first woman to work full-time on broadcasts of men's events. She captained the victorious American teams in the 1996 and 1998 Solheim Cups. Rankin became the first player voted into the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame in 2000 under the veterans category. She served as an LPGA board member and president in 1976-77.

Rankin was awarded the 1998 LPGA William and Mousie Powell Award, for exemplifying the spirit, ideals and values of the LPGA. In 1999, she earned the First Lady of Golf Award by the PGA of America, the Patty Berg Award from the LPGA for her diplomacy, sportsmanship, goodwill and contributions to the game of golf, as well as the Richardson Award by the Golf Writers Association of America for outstanding service to the game of golf. Rankin was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2000 and received the USGAıs highest honor in 2002, the Bob Jones Award, in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf.

"On behalf of all the members of the World Golf Hall of Fame, our staff and more than 250 volunteers, congratulations to Judy on being named this year's recipient of the Old Tom Morris award," said the World Golf Hall of Fame's Jack Peter said. "Judy's contributions to the game both on and off the course, combined with her grace, professionalism and passion for the game, makes her the perfect choice for this award."

Rankin, originally from St. Louis, and her husband, Yippy Rankin, now reside in Midland, Texas. They have a son and two grandchildren. Rankin was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2006. She completed treatment by August 2006 and returned to her on-air work on ABC in time to cover the Women's British Open.

Rankin was honored by the Golf Writers Association of America with the 2007 Ben Hogan Award, which goes to the individual who has continued to be active in golf despite a physical handicap or serious illness. She also earned the 2007 Komen Award from the LPGA, which is given to a person or organization that sets an example for others by making an outstanding contribution through personal or professional efforts via the game of golf to generate national and local support for breast cancer research, education and efforts to eradicate the disease.

A complete list of GCSAA Old Tom Morris Award winners is available at www.gcsaa.org/community/awards/pastotm.aspx.