Of the LPGA's top players of the 1980s and '90s, Patty Sheehan has been the most consistent performer.
Starting in her first full season on the LPGA Tour, 1981, Sheehan won at least one tournament in every year except one through 1996. And she finished in the top 10 on the money list for 12 straight years, 1982-93.
Sheehan, who was born in Vermont and later moved to Nevada, was one of the top junior skiers in the country at age 13. She began to focus on golf, however, and won the first of four consecutive Nevada Amateurs at age 18 in 1975.
She also won the California Amateur in 1978 and '79 and the national collegiate championship in 1980 while golfing for San Jose State. She was runner-up in the U.S. Women's Amateur in 1979.
Sheehan owns six titles in the three most important championships in women's golf, capturing three LPGA Championships (1983, '84, '93), two U.S. Women's Opens (1992, '94), and one Nabisco Dinah Shore (1996). She joined Mickey Wright (1960, '61) as the only back-to-back winners of the LPGA Championship, and Sheehan set the 18-hole tournament record with a 63 in 1984.
Her most satisfying victories were the two Women's Opens, which came after finishing second in that event in 1983, '88, and '90. She lost a six-stroke lead after two rounds in 1990, but two years later she birdied the last two holes of regulation and then won a playoff against Juli Inkster.
Sheehan is considered to have one of the most natural swings in women's golf, which has helped her to avoid slumps. Though she has never led the money list, she has ranked second in earnings five times (1983, '84, '88, '90, and '93), was the Player of the Year in 1983, and won the Vare Trophy for low scoring average in 1984. Multiple wins in 10 seasons helped her to 35 career victories through 1996.
Sheehan's highest victory total, five, came in 1990, the year after her northern California home was destroyed by an earthquake. She later built a new home in Reno, Nevada.
For more information about golf, see:
- The Best Golfers of All Time
- How Golf Clubs Work