Nancy Lopez was the most celebrated player in women's golf in the decade after her rookie year in 1978. She began playing golf as a young girl and was an accomplished amateur before starting her professional career while a sophomore at Tulsa University in Oklahoma. Lopez was named Player of the Year by the Ladies Professional Golf Association four times (1978-79, 1985 and 1988) and was inducted into the Hall of Fame when she was only 30 years old (1987). The greatest female golfer of her generation, she is also known for her cheerful persona on and off the course. Nancy retired from the LPGA Tour in 2002, though she continues to play occasional tournaments.
During our recent trip to the PGA Show in Orlando, Golfing Magazine had the good fortune of sitting down for a talk with Nancy Lopez, one of the best golfers in LPGA history. Nancy was at the show representing Nancy Lopez Golf, a company that seeks to make golf enjoyable for women.
GM: Nancy, what are you hoping to accomplish with Nancy Lopez Golf?
NL: I’d like to let women have equipment designed for them, whether they are beginners or advanced players. Women should be able to hit that good shot, to have that feeling when you hit one great.
GM: What are some of the products that Nancy Lopez Golf has for 2007?
NL: First, we have a line of Antigua clothing that is both athletic and feminine. These outfits have slimming lines and are very comfortable. We want to take away the intimidation that some women feel on the golf course, so we also have the Match Play Process. The Match Play Process is a great system for fitting women to a set of our clubs. It’s a four-step process that is very simple and approachable. We have two sets of clubs, the Erinn Series and the Torri II Series. There are no stupid questions in the Match Play Process—we really want to help women find the best clubs to let them play well.
GM: What led to your involvement with Nancy Lopez Golf?
NL: I started working with Arnold Palmer Golf, but to be honest, they didn’t use me the way they should have. It was a disappointing experience. This is a new beginning for me. I wanted to work specifically with women golfers. I want women to be able to play golf, and take their kids out and teach them how to play, too. Nancy Lopez Golf is taking the greengrass approach to the business. We’re starting at some small retailers and sporting goods stores, and hopefully we catch on by positive feedback and word of mouth. There’s been a great response so far here at the PGA Show, so we’re really excited for 2007.
GM: Sounds great, Nancy. Thanks for your time, and good luck the rest of the year.
For More information Visit www.nancylopezgolf.com
LPGA Tour Wins: 48
LPGA Major Wins: 3
Rookie of the Year – 1978
Vare Trophy – 1978, 1979, 1985
Player of the Year – 1978, 1979, 1985, 1988
LPGA Leading Money Winner – 1978, 1979, 1985
Nancy Lopez is the only player to win the Rookie of the Year Award, Player of the Year Award and Vare Trophy in the same season (1978).
Solheim Cup – 1990 player
Career Earnings - $5,320,877
Inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame in 1989
Founded the Nancy Lopez Golf Company in 1997
In 1998, earned the Rolex Player of the Year Award for the fourth time in her career after having won three events that season.
Received the USGA’s Bob Jones Award in 1998
Inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2001
In 2003, was named to Hispanic Business Magazine’s list of 80 Elite Hispanic Women and was presented with the Billie Jean King Contribution Award.
Captained the victorious 2005 Solheim Cup team
In 2007, won the ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award for her cooperation, quotability and accommodation to the media.
Personal:?Born: January 6, 1957?She married professional baseball player Ray Knight in 1982. They have three daughters: Ashley (b. 1983), Erinn (b. 1986) and Torri (b. 1991).