TOP 10 MONEY WINNERS 1965-66-70-71-72-73-74-75-76-77-79
NINE LPGA (GOLF MAGAZINE) ALL AMERICAN TEAMS, 1970-71-72-73-74-75-76-77-79
25 TOP 10 FINISHES IN 1973, LPGA RECORD
1976-1977 MICKEY WRIGHT AWARD, FOR MOST WINS IN A SEASON
1976 COLGATE DINAH SHORE CHAMPION
1977 du MAURIER CHAMPION
1974-1977 COLGATE EUROPEAN OPEN CHAMPION
1964 LPGA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER AWARD
#1 FEMALE GOLFER IN THE WORLD FROM 1973 THROUGH 1977
1976-FIRST LPGA PLAYER TO WIN 100,000 DOLLARS IN A SINGLE SEASON.
45 CAREER SECOND PLACE FINISHES
CAREER LOW ROUND, 63, IN 1977 BENT TREE CLASSIC
LPGA PLAYERS PRESIDENT 1976-1977
CAPTAIN OF THE WINNING UNITED STATES SOLHIEM CUP TEAMS 1996 AND 1998
CAPTAIN OF THE WINNING USA NATIONS CUP TEAMS IN 1998 AND 1999.
RANKIN IN THE 1970'S
COMPETED IN 267 LPGA EVENTS
176 FINISHES IN THE TOP 10
116 FINISHES IN THE TOP 5
36 FINISHES IN THE TOP 2
25 TIMES THE WINNER
ST. LOUIS SPORTS HALL OF FAME 1967
SEAGRAMS 7 CROWNS OF SPORTS AWARD 1977
TEXAS GOLF HALL OF FAME 1984
NATIONAL COLLEGIATE HALL OF FAME 1985
LPGA MOUSIE POWELL AWARD 1998
TEXAS SPORTS HALL OF FAME 1999
WILLIAM RICHARDSON AWARD 1999
FIRST LADY OF GOLF AWARD 1999
PATTY BERG AWARD 1999
TEXAS WOMENS HALL OF FAME 2000
UNITED STATES GOLF ACADEMY DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD 2000
DAVE MARR AWARD 2000
LPGA, WORLD GOLF HALL OF FAME 2000
USGA BOB JONES AWARD 2002
LPGA KOHMAN AWARD 2007
BEN HOGAN AWARD 2007
OLD TOM MORRIS AWARD 2009
Judy with Hall of Famer Patty Berg at age 10
Born Judy Torluemke on 2/18/45 to Paul and Wanetta Torluemke of St. Louis, Missouri. She began to play golf at the age of six as the result of trips to a local driving range with her father. By the time
Judy was seven she had stunned St. Louis golfing circles by winning a city wide closest to the pin contest over a large field of adult men and women.
Her effort grabbed a headline in the next days St. Louis Post Dispatch newspaper that read, "SEVEN YEAR OLD WINS HOLE IN ONE CONTEST" At the age of eight she won the twelve year old division of the National Pee Wee Championship. She would go on to win this event three more times. Following this, tournament officials renamed the winners trophy "The Judy Torluemke Trophy."
In 1959 at the age of fourteen Judy once again stunned her peers by winning the Missouri State Amateur. Some forty-five years later she remains the events youngest winner. She would lose in the semi finals in 1960, but regained the title in 1961. She
became the youngest ever low amateur in a U.S. Open in 1960 at the age of fifteen, that years open was played at Baltusrol Country Club in New Jersey. Judy Torluemke became a Sports Illustrated cover girl in August of 1961.
After joining the LPGA tour in 1962 her game showed potential but little else. Her play began to pick up in 1964 as she was named the tours "Most Improved Player." She cracked the top ten money winners in 1965, and again in 1966.
In 1967 the 22 year old Torluemke
wed Walter Rankin of Midland, Texas. She gave birth to her son Walter "Tuey" Rankin in 1968. After rejoining the tour in late 68 she promptly won her first LPGA tournament, the Corpus Christi Civitan Open. Rankin enjoyed a respectable but winless season in 1969 finishing second three times.
Judy Rankin took her place among the elite of womens golf in 1970 when she won three tournaments and ended the year fifth on the tour money list. She suffered through a season long slump in 1971 that didn't end until the years final event in Waco, Texas,
when she defeated Jane Blalock in a sudden death playoff for her fifth career victory. She began to receive national attention in 1972 when she led
the inaugural Dinah Shore Championship for most of the way until faltering on the back nine during the final round. She went on to win two events in 72, and finished the year the tours number three money winner.
1973 would be Rankin's best year yet as she captured four tournaments and finished second on the money list. She won the first of three Vare Trophies
for lowest stroke average over the entire season. Golf Magazine, named her "Player of The Year." Her performance fell off a bit in 1974 even though
she managed to capture two tournaments including the Colgate European Open. 1975 would be a year of success qualified by frustration as she played her way into three sudden death playoffs inside a four week period only to lose all three. She did capture the National Jewish Hospital Open in Denver, Co, and finished fifth on the money list.
Rankin made her a permanent mark on womens golf in 1976 when she became the first woman golfer to win one hundred thousand dollars in a single season. Her year began on a high note as she won the first event of the season in Miami, Florida. Then in April, she captured the one that got away in 1972, the Colgate Dinah Shore. She came from three strokes off the pace the final day by shooting an amazing 68 in brutal cold and gusting winds. ABC announcer Bob Rosberg commented during
the telecast "considering these conditions this may be one of the greatest rounds ever played." She would win four more times that season. Rankin won one hundred and fifty thousand dollars in 1976, shattering the previous record by more than sixty thousand dollars. She captured her second career Vare Trophy, and her first LPGA Player of the Year Award. During her pursuit of the hundred thousand dollar mark she received unprecedented media attention for a woman golfer. 1977 brought more of the same from Rankin,
she would go on to win five events, the Vare Trophy, and the Player of the Year Award. Among her wins in 77 were the du Maurier, and her second Colgate European Open title. That year also saw her become the first female golfer to be placed on the cover of Golf Magazine.
The end of the 1977 season would mark the end of Judy's five year reign as the best woman golfer in the world. From 1973 through 1977 she won more tournaments 17, more money $442,669, and had the lowest stroke average 72.89 on the LPGA tour. The 1978
season would mark the start of Rankin's decline as a tour superstar. Chronic
back problems that began to haunt her in 1974 became worse. She would win
just fifty thousand dollars and take just one event. She appeared to be regaining
her form in 1979 as she ended the year eighth on the money list. She captured
her final LPGA victory at the WUI Classic. Her play in the 80's was only
a shadow of her former self as burnout, back pain, and a new crop of young
and hungry competitors took their toll.
One of the great misnomers about Judy's career is the belief that she "never" won a major championship. Over the years the LPGA has designated a number of tournaments as "majors." The only two that have consistently held this label are the U.S. Open, and the LPGA Championship. For much of the career of Rankin, and other top players of this era, there were only two "majors" in a season. By 1976, the Dinah Shore Championship, and the U.S. Open, were the most coveted crowns in women's golf. When Judy Rankin won the Dinah Shore, it was not considered a major. In fact, the event was not given "major" status until 1979. Many consider this a travesty. Judy Rankin also won the 1977 du Maurier championship, which later became a "major." She also won two Colgate European Open's, which was the forerunner of the Women's British Open.
Asside from the fact that she became known for her outstanding play on the course, Judy Rankin became unique in her sport for another reason. Her strong left hand grip on the club was ridiculed by golf experts when she first came upon the scene. Many felt she would never succeed as a professional with what they labeled the "worst left hand grip in golf." Years later, players adopting the strong left hand became commonplace. Paul Azinger, John Daly, Fred Couples, Beth Daniel, Nancy Lopez, and many others have used variations on what NBC's Johnny Miller, has called "The Judy Rankin grip."
After three years of semi retirement, Judy Rankin began to appear as a guest commentator on ABC, and ESPN's, golf telecasts in 1985. This role quickly became a second career, as she became a regular on LPGA, PGA, and Champions Tour events. She has been heard on golf broadcasts all over the world, and has been on the scene for some of the sports greatest moments.
In 1996 she was given in her words "The biggest honor of my professional career," when she was named the United States Captain, of the LPGA's Solhiem Cup team. Like the Ryder Cup for the men, this is a competition between the best of the American tour, against the best of Europe. Judy's 96 squad defeated the Euro's thanks to total dominance in the final day's singles matches. She was once again named captain in 1998 when the matches returned to the U.S. Her 1998 squad held off a fierce rally from the European's on the final day to retain the cup.
Judy Rankin was finally elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2000. She was inducted along side of LPGA greats Juli Inkster, and Beth Daniel.
"YIPPY" RANKIN 1940-2012
1968 CORPUS CHRISTI CIVITAN OPEN
1970 GEORGE WASHINGTON CLASSIC
1970 SPRINGFIELD JAY CEE OPEN
1970 LINCOLN MERCURY OPEN
1971 QUALITY CHECKED CLASSIC
1972 LADY EVE OPEN
1972 LADY HERITAGE CLASSIC
1973 AMERICAN DEFENDER CLASSIC
1973-LADY CARLING OPEN
1974-COLGATE EUROPEAN OPEN *
1975- NATIONAL JEWISH HOSPITAL OPEN
1976- BURDINES INVITATIONAL
1976- COLGATE DINAH SHORE
1976- KARSTEN PING OPEN
1976- BABE ZAHARIAS INVITATIONAL
1976- BORDEN CLASSIC
1976- LADY HONG KONG OPEN
1977- ORANGE BLOSSOM CLASSIC
1977- BENT TREE LADIES CLASSIC
1977- MAYFLOWER CLASSIC
1977- du MAURIER
1977- COLGATE EUROPEAN OPEN
1977- LPGA NATIONAL TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP * *
1978- WUI CLASSIC
1979- WUI CLASSIC
1974 Colgate European Open considered a European tour event. 1977 LPGA Team Championship, a team event with Joanne Carner.