Here is a puffy
little gnome of a woman who trudges the fairway looking more like a resolute
middle-aged housewife on her way to a YWCA calisthenics class than she does a
remarkable athlete. But when Patty Berg grasps a golf club, the butterfly
emerges from the cocoon. The greatest shots in women's golf have come off the
faces of Patty Berg's clubs.
She has won more
tournaments than any other woman professional. She holds the alltime 18-hole
competitive record in women's tournaments—a 64—and shares the LPGA 54-hole
record with Betty Jameson at 210.
Patty appears to
have mastered the difficult essential of keying herself up for every
tournament. She plays each shot as though it were the one by which she will be
misses a shot," commented one of the pros, "you'd think the world had
come to an end."
Patty's world was
not even threatened in 1955. She was leading money winner, low scorer, winner
of the Serbin Trophy (Competitor of the Year), and was elected outstanding
woman athlete of the year by Associated Press.
this year has not gone so well for her. Her place has been taken by a pro who
once would have been voted most unlikely to succeed.
The emergence of
Marlene Bauer Hagge from a prolonged golf adolescence into the role of leading
tournament winner and money earner for 1956 has left most of the game's
prognosticators groping for answers. Marlene, as just about anyone outside the
Bauer household would have told you a year ago, just didn't have it. She
obviously reached her peak at 13, and that was nine years ago.
From the April
day in 1950 when she ceased being a child wonder and stepped into the more
realistic and demanding world of professional golf, Marlene only occasionally
made Pro Dave Bauer happy with his daughter's performance. In decided contrast
with her sister Alice, an effervescent pixie with an apparent zest for the
game, Marlene played most of the time with the resigned disinterest of a
youngster doing domestic chores. She confided to her friends that she would
like to be a ballet dancer or an artist or anything but a golf
This year the job
has suddenly become enjoyable. Yet Marlene exhibits no drastic outward changes
in her physical game. Her recent fabulous putting streak startled no one, for
the Bauers have long been the game's greatest around the greens.