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Patty Berg named chairperson of 2002 Solheim Cup

LPGA Tour founder and World Golf Hall of Famer Patty Berg was named the honorary chairperson of the 2002 Solheim Cup, scheduled for Sept. 20-22 at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn.

Ty M. Votaw, commissioner of LPGA, made the announcement during a news conference held at Interlachen, which is also Berg's home course.

"Patty Berg is one of the finest women to have ever played golf," said Votaw. "Not only is she a legend and icon in women's professional golf, but she is also a much-loved citizen of Minneapolis. Patty stands for every ideal that is associated with The Solheim Cup -- integrity, sportsmanship and excellence in golf. We are thrilled to have Patty as a member of the team that will host the 2002 Solheim Cup here in her native city and at her home course."

Berg took up golf at age 13. She also played football as a youth, quarterbacking a Minneapolis sandlot squad named the "50th Street Tigers", which included legendary University of Oklahoma coach Bud Wilkinson. Following a stellar amateur career that included 28 amateur titles (three of them majors), Berg turned professional in 1940. From 1948-62, Berg won 44 titles, including nine majors. In 1950, Berg was one of 13 women who founded the LPGA, which has evolved into the oldest, longest-running women's professional sports organization in the world. Berg served as the LPGA's first president (1950-52) and was the Tour money leader in 1954-55 and 1957. She ended her career with 60 overall victories and 15 majors, the latter of which is still a Tour record.

"I want to thank the commissioner and the Solheims for this great honor," said Berg. "The Solheim Cup is a wonderful event, and I am thrilled to be a part of it, especially since it will be at Interlachen and in my home town. Minneapolis is a great city, full of the best golf fans in the world."

In addition to her reputation as a world-class competitor, Berg is also well known for her teaching. Her clinics have become legendary, and she still conducts one each year at the U.S. Women's Open.

A former lieutenant in the Marine Corps, Berg was inducted to the Hall of Fame of Women's Golf in 1951 and was one of six inaugural members of the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame in 1967. The LPGA Tour Hall of Fame chose to recognize 1951 as the retroactive date of her induction. She also was an inaugural inductee into the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional (T&CP) Hall of Fame in 2000. Berg and the 12 other LPGA founders received the 2000 Commissioner's Award.

Berg has a seemingly endless collection of awards and honors. The LPGA created the Patty Berg Award in 1978 for outstanding contributions to women's golf, which Berg herself won in 1990. She is a member of numerous halls of fame, including the All-American Collegiate Hall of Fame and the University of Minnesota Women's Athletic Department Hall of Fame. Berg was one of the top 50 LPGA players and teachers named in 2000 in conjunction with the LPGA's 50th anniversary. She was named as one of the "100 Heroes of Golf" and "Golfer of the Decade" for 1938-47 by GOLF magazine during the 1988 Centennial of Golf in America celebrations and was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Golfers of All Time by Golf Digest in 2000.

Berg has authored three books on golf, was the first woman to receive the Humanitarian Sports Award from the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation and was honored by the Southwest Florida Regional Medical Center with the dedication of the Patty Berg Cancer Center in 1993.

LPGA Tour and World Golf Hall of Famer Patty Sheehan is captain of the U.S. Team, with Scotland's Dale Reid returning as the head of the European squad. The United States leads the series, 4-2, with the Europeans winning in 2000.

The Solheim Cup is a biennial, trans-Atlantic team match-play competition featuring the best U.S.-born players from the LPGA Tour and the best European-born players from the Evian Ladies European Tour. Sponsored by PING golf equipment, The Solheim Cup is named in honor of the company's founder, Karsten Solheim and his family. PING is a long-time supporter of women's professional golf and is the co-title sponsor of the LPGA's Standard Register PING in Phoenix.

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