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At a time during the first half of the 20th century when women athletes were not expected to achieve much in sports, Babe Zaharias was busy breaking records in golf, basketball, and track and field. Physically strong and confident, she broke the accepted models of femininity in her time and paved the way for the current acceptance of female athletes.

Born Mildred Ella Didrikson on June 26, 1911 to immigrant parents from Norway, she was nicknamed “Babe” (after Babe Ruth) when she hit five home runs during a childhood baseball game. Didrikson was best known for her athletic gifts, but she Babe168 was also a woman of many talents and interests. Among them were being an excellent seamstress, singer, harmonica player, competitive pool player, expert diver, roller-skater, and bowler.

Didrikson’s worldwide fame began during the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics when she won two gold medals and one silver medal for track and field. She also set five world records in the javelin throw, 80-meter hurdles, high jump, and baseball throw in a single afternoon during the 1932 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Championships. Playing for her company’s Golden Cyclones, Didrikson led her team to an AAU Basketball Championship a year earlier in 1931. After the Olympics she performed on the vaudeville circuit and travelled with Babe Didrikson’s All-Americans basketball team.

Despite all her athletic achievements, she would become best known as one of the best female golfers in history. Denied amateur status despite her lack of golfing experience, she decided to compete in the Los Angeles Open in 1938. This was a man’s PGA tournament, and although she missed the cut, her participation was a feat no other woman would ever try until decades later. During the Babe168 RTP tournament she was teamed up with George Zaharias whom she married eleven months later.

During the 1940’s and early 1950’s, Babe Zaharias became a leading player and the first female golf celebrity in America. Having regained her amateur status in 1942, she was the first American to win the United States Women’s Amateur Golf Championships and the British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship in 1947. She turned professional the same year and went on to have three Western Open victories as well. Babe became a founding member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association after having been a dominant player at the Women’s Professional Golf Association.

Babe Zaharias won a total of 82 golf tournaments, 17 straight amateur victories, and by 1950, had won every golf title available. She even won the Babe Zaharias Open of Beaumont, Texas. Although she won the 1947 Titleholders Championship and the 1948 U.S. Women’s Open, Babe wasn’t shy about competing with the big boys of golf. She may have missed the cut in a PGA tour event during her first year of tournament golf, but she later went on to make the cut in every PGA tour she entered, playing in three PGA tournaments in 1945. To date, Babe is the first and only woman in history to make the cut in a regular PGA tour event.

She became the fastest LPGA golfer to get 10 wins in a year and 20 days, and to get 20 wins in the span of two years and four months. This record has not been beaten. In 1950, not only did she complete the Grand Slam of the three women’s majors of the day, the U.S. Open, the Titleholders Championship, and the Western Open, but by 1951 was the leading money winner.

Unfortunately in 1953 Babe Didrikson Zaharias was diagnosed with colon cancer. Despite her illness she kept competing in tournaments and served as president of the LPGA from 1952 to 1955. She was ranked the top female golfer at the time she died at the age of 45.

In 1999 the Associated Press voted her Woman Athlete of the 20th Century. She’s in the World Golf Hall of Fame and listed at #10 on ESPN’s 50 top athletes of the 20th Century. In 2000 Golf Digest ranked her the 17th greatest golfer, and Sports Illustrated named her the second on its list of Greatest Female Athletes of All Time behind Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

During a time when some sportswriters remarked that a woman’s place was in the home getting themselves prettied up waiting for the phone to ring, Babe Zaharias proved that a woman’s place could be defined by whatever she wanted it to be. is a Pro Sports website that connects visitors to top-name sport retailers, information, news, and videos. Get live-time sport news, save money on season tickets, and shop for your favorite professional sports teams all in one place:


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