The Mickey Wright Room, which will open at the U.S. Golf Association Museum next month, was on preview this week while the LPGA Sybase Classic was being played nearby in New Jersey.
The permanent exhibit, which opens to the public June 16 in Far Hills, N.J., includes some 200 artifacts from the woman who won 82 LPGA titles. Her career spanned from 1955, when the LPGA founders were in their prime, to 1979, when she lost in a playoff to second-year pro Nancy Lopez.
Wright, 77, is only the fourth player – and the first woman – to have a gallery honor her name at the museum, joining golf icons Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones and Arnold Palmer.
“She cried when I told her,” said Rhonda Glenn, a USGA historian and longtime friend, who informed Wright in November that the USGA executive committee had approved the room.
Wright’s swing was described as the best in history by both Hogan and Byron Nelson.
“If she didn’t hit the ball in the center of the clubface every time, she thought something was wrong,” said Louise Suggs, her friend and rival.
A trove of Wright’s personal films trace the development of her golf swing. They include footage of Wright as a junior golfer in San Diego, as a young player taking lessons from teaching professional Harry Pressler, as a rookie professional in 1955, and as the winner of championships, including the 1958 LPGA Championship and the 1959 U.S. Women’s Open. “I could sit all day and watch her swing on repeat,” said current LPGA Tour pro Morgan Pressel.
“I could hit it so well,” Wright said recently in a telephone interview. “I used to say the second-greatest feeling in the world was a high 2-iron to a well-trapped green.”
And what was the greatest feeling? “Winning,” Wright said.
ON THE COURSE
Morgan Pressel inched closer to her first LPGA Tour title since 2008, posting two very different victories Saturday to reach the semifinals of the Sybase Match Play Championship in Gladstone, N.J. Pressel rallied from 2-down with three holes to play to stun No. 2 ranked Na Yeon Choi in 19 holes in the morning and rolled over Anna Nordqvist of Sweden, 5 and 4, in a quarterfinal at Hamilton Farm Golf Club. Pressel will face former NCAA champion Azahara Munoz – a 5-and-4 winner over American Stacy Lewis – in the semifinals this morning. American Vicky Hurst and Candie Kung will square off in the other match. …
Jason Dufner shot a 1-under 69, enough to keep a one-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Texas. On a day when nine players had or shared the lead, Dufner was the one on top alone for the second straight day when play was done. He was at 8-under 202. … Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell advanced to the World Match Play Championship semifinals when Spanish favorite Sergio Garcia missed a par putt on the first extra hole in Casares, Spain. McDowell will face Rafael Cabrera-Bello, a 3-and-1 winner over Spanish compatriot Alvaro Quiros. Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts will play Scotland’s Paul Lawrie in the other semifinal.