NANCY LOPEZ FAREWELL
As the field of bagpipers and tournament officials led Nancy Lopez up the fairway
of Pittsford, New York's Locust Hill Country Club, Lopez- straggled behind the field,
overcome with emotion and collecting her thoughts before approaching the microphone to
address the crowd circling the 18th green.
LOPEZ: I know everyone thanks me for what I've done..but it's what you all have done
It's not easy for Lopez to admit that the time has come. But she didn't want to just
fade away as what happens with far too many sports players.
LOPEZ: Like some athletes have.. 'cause I'll sit there and say, gosh what happened to
so-and-so.. did they just quit? And so it's more to just say goodbye and not just
disappear for all of the fans who followed me because I feel like I owe that to them..
because they've been so supportive my whole career.
Lopez burst upon the LPGA scene in 1978. And the rookie collected an amazing nine
victories, including a record five in a row becoming the only woman pro to win Rookie of
the Year, Player of the Year and leading low score honors all in the same season. She's
taken home 48 first place checks on tour- five times she won at Locust Hill- and in 1987
qualified for the LPGA Hall of Fame. In Rochester this week, fans thanked her for the
MAN FAN: Nancy, I've been a follower of yours ever since you started playing and the fans
here just love you.
WOMAN FAN: I want to thank you for always playing with such dignity and professionalism
and what you've done for the game of golf especially women's golf.
MAN FAN: I've got a room full of Nancy Lopez autographs. I have another one right here.
And if I can get another one I will get another one. It's awesome.
WOMAN FAN: I hope your life after golf is going to be wonderful, too. You're such a
The well-wishers along the trail of the Lopez farewell tour include fellow players,
like Britian's Laura Davies. She sums up the feeling contemporaries have for Lopez.
DAVIES: I think just total respect. Any one who doesn't, doesn't know her. I made a point
of being here because she's my favorite as well. You very rarely hear anyone say anything
bad about Nancy.
Although hopeful that others will take up where Lopez leaves off LPGA Commissioner Ty
Votaw knows it just won't be the same without Nancy.
VOTAW: Her contributions in terms of her performance and what she's brought to the game
in terms of personality and giving back and being such a fan's first ambassador for this
sport has made us all more successful as an organization.
When Nancy Lopez turned professional all she wanted to do was play some good golf and
maybe win a tournament or two. Besides surpassing expectations, Lopez is credited with
inspiring new generations of lady golfers, kick-starting collegiate attention and
scholarships, and bringing much-needed attention to the Ladies Professional Golf
Association. Now she'll schedule golf around her husband and three daughters- instead of
the other way 'round.
LOPEZ: You know it's hard because I love golf so much. And I love the LPGA tour. A lot of
the people around here have grown up with me. I was 20 when I came here. So they've really
watched my career and watch me grow up. There's an attachment there for sure 'cause
hey've been there for my good rounds and my bad rounds. So it's just kind of a love affair
for me with them.
From the legions of Lopez fans ffor parts of the past four decades: right back at
'ya, Nancy. Bill Flynn, Newsradio 1180, WHAM.