Since 2009, the Betsy Rawls Legacy Award has honored an individual with great service, dedication and contribution to women’s golf. On September 2, PGA of America Officer Suzy Whaley became the ninth recipient of the Betsy Rawls Legacy Award at The Westin Poinsett in Greenville, South Carolina.
Whaley's contribution to golf has been vast as a player, teacher and administrator.
On the course, she was a three-time Connecticut Women's Open champion; LPGA Tour member; first woman since Babe Zaharias to qualify for a PGA Tour event (and first PGA of America woman to win the Connecticut PGA Section Championship); National LPGA Teaching & Club Professional winner; Connecticut PGA Section Champion; Connecticut PGA Club Professional Champion; and a two-time LPGA Northeast T&CP Section Champion. She competed in both the 2002 and 2005 PGA Professional Championships.
A dual PGA of America and LPGA Teaching & Club Professional member, Whaley is currently the PGA Director of Instruction at Suzy Whaley Golf in Cromwell, Connecticut. Recognized as one of the country’s top instructors, Whaley enjoyed a five-year tenure at Jim Flick Golf Schools, before becoming the Head Golf Professional at Blue Fox Run in Avon, Connecticut, in 2002. From 2004-06, she worked as an LPGA golf commentator for ESPN.
The first woman elected to serve as an Officer of the PGA of America, the current PGA Vice President has been a member of the Board from 2011-13. She served on the Connecticut PGA Section Board of Directors and was the Section’s Vice President at Large.
A 2016 Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Whaley also serves as an Honorary Director for the First Tee of Connecticut. She was named a 2015 Sports Business Journal “Game Changer,” cited as a female leader who has had a major impact on sports business. Whaley also received the Margo Dydek Award from the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun in 2015, for her ability to engage, challenge and inspire, while serving as a role model.
A 1989 graduate of the University of North Carolina with a Bachelor’s Degree in economics, Whaley and her husband, Bill, are both PGA members. Their daughters Jennifer and Kelly both competed in AJGA events, earning college golf opportunities at Quinnipiac and North Carolina, respectively.
Whaley, who also gave a clinic for the girls after the second round on September 3, was recognized by Scott Hipp, tournament chairman and inspiration behind the AJGA Girls Championship, and AJGA Executive Director Stephen Hamblin. A special presentation was made to Audrey Horne, wife of former AJGA Board Member Lew Horne, who passed away in February. Horne faithfully served on the board for nearly 20 years and was a champion of female golfers, often attending the AJGA Girls Championship. During the second round, the flag on No. 18 green featured a picture of the late Horne, tended by his wife.
Betsy Rawls Award Recipients
2009 - Betsy Rawls
2010 - Betsy King
2011 - Cindy Davis
2012 - Nancy Lopez
2013 - Charlie Mechem
2014 - Beth Daniel
2015 - Dottie Pepper
2016 - John Solheim
2017 - Suzy Whaley