The medal presented each year to the winner of the U.S. Women’s Open Championship has been renamed in Mickey Wright’s honor and redesigned with an image of her iconic swing, ensuring that every future champion is forever linked to one of golf’s greatest pioneers and competitors.
The gold medal, which until now has not had a formal name, dates to the 1953 U.S. Women’s Open when the USGA first began conducting the championship. Beginning in June with the 75th U.S. Women’s Open at Champions Golf Club in Houston, each champion will receive the Mickey Wright Medal along with the U.S. Women’s Open Trophy.
“Mickey exemplified what it means to be a USGA champion both on and off the course,” said Mike Davis, CEO of the USGA. “Naming the U.S. Women’s Open champion’s medal after Mickey, in a milestone anniversary year for the championship, is a fitting way to honor the breadth of her accomplishments and contributions to the game of golf. She embodied what it means to be a U.S. Women’s Open competitor and champion, showing mental toughness, exquisite shot-making and exceptional course management. We are so honored to have had the relationship with her that we did.”
Over the course of her career, Wright, who died on Feb. 17 at the age of 85, won four U.S. Women’s Open titles, which ties Betsy Rawls for the most ever. In addition, Wright has seven top-three finishes and 10 top-five finishes in the championship. She was the first player to win consecutive Women’s Opens, in 1958 at Forest Lake Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and in 1959 at Churchill Valley Golf Club in Blackridge, Pa. She added victories in 1961 at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, N.J., and 1964 at San Diego Country Club in Chula Vista, Calif.
Wright also won the 1952 U.S. Girls’ Junior and received the Bob Jones Award, the USGA’s highest honor, in 2010. In 2012, she became the fourth golfer – and first woman – to be honored with her own exhibition room at the USGA Golf Museum in Liberty Corner, N.J., joining Ben Hogan, Bob Jones and Arnold Palmer. She donated more than 200 personal items for the Mickey Wright Room, which can be visited by the general public. Jack Nicklaus became the fifth person to have a dedicated room in the museum in 2015 and is the only other person to have a USGA championship medal named after him, an honor that was bestowed in 2012 with the gold medal that is awarded to the U.S. Open champion.
“The USGA has been a big part of my life since 1950 when I played in my first Girls’ Junior,” Wright said in 2012. “To win five of their championships, the U.S. Girls’ Junior and four Women’s Opens, has always been my most cherished accomplishment in golf. My only regret was not being able to win a fifth Women’s Open. Someday, perhaps, someone will.”
Regarded as one of the greatest players in the game’s history, Wright was renowned for her powerful and beautifully rhythmic swing, which was described as the greatest ever by Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson. She amassed 82 LPGA Tour victories, including 13 major championships. Both totals are second-most in women’s golf. Between 1961 and 1962, Wright became the only woman to hold four major titles at the same time, a record she still holds. She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1976 and the Associated Press named her the female golfer of the century in 1999.
The Mickey Wright Medal will be awarded to the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open champion on Sunday, June 7, capping a week-long celebration at Champions Golf Club.