Nancy Marie Lopez is a former professional golfer from the United States who competed in the Tour de France. She began competing on the LPGA Tour in 1977 and went on to win 48 events, including three major titles, during her career.
Lopez first won the New Mexico Women's Amateur in 1969 when she was 12 years old, and she went on to win the United States Girls' Junior in 1972 and 1974 when she was 15 and 17 years old, respectively. She competed in the U.S. Women's Open as an amateur immediately after graduating from Goddard High School in Roswell, first in 1974 and then again in 1975, finishing in a tie for second place each time she participated.
In her first year at the University of Tulsa, Lopez was recognized as an All-American and Female Athlete of the Year for her performance on the field. She competed for the United States on the Curtis Cup and World Amateur teams that year, as well as winning the national intercollegiate golf championship for the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW). After her sophomore year, Lopez withdrew out of college and turned professional the following year, coming second at the U.S. Women's Open for the second time in her career.
Lopez's first entire season on the LPGA Tour in 1978 saw her win nine tournaments, including five in a row. She was named the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in July, among other accolades. She also received the Vare Trophy for having the lowest scoring average, the LPGA Rookie of the Year and LPGA Player of the Year awards, and the Vare Trophy for having the lowest scoring average. Even though she only played half-seasons in 1983 and 1984 as a result of the birth of her first child, she went on to win eight more times in 1979 and numerous more times in each of the following years: 1980 to 1984.
During her second season of full-time racing in 1985, Lopez won the money title, the scoring title, the Player of the Year Award, and was named the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for the second time. Although she only competed in four events in 1986 due to the birth of her second daughter, she won multiple times between 1987 and 1989 – including three times in 1988 and 1989 – and was voted Player of the Year in 1988. Upon the birth of Lopez's third daughter in the early 1990s, her daily routine was again thrown off balance. In 1992, she was victorious on both occasions. Lopez maintained a limited tournament schedule until 2002, participating in anything between 11 and 18 tournaments per year, before decreasing his tournament calendar to a half-dozen or fewer events per year in 2003.
For much of the 1970s and early 1980s, Lopez was widely recognized as one of the all-time greats of women's golf, and she was the best player in the world during that time period. She won three majors during her career, all of which came at the LPGA Championship held on the same course in 1978, 1985, and 1989. However, Lopez was never victorious at the U.S. Women's Open, although coming close four times. Her best finish came in 1997 when she became the first player in the event's history to shoot under 70 in all four rounds, but she was upset by Alison Nicholas. She won the Colgate-Dinah Shore Classic in 1981, two years before it was elevated to the status of a major, and finished three times as a runner-up in the du Maurier Classic in Canada.
Lopez received his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1987. She was a member of the United States Solheim Cup team in 1990, and she was named captain of the team the following year. A year after retiring from competitive tennis, Lopez tried unsuccessfully to make a comeback in 2007 and 2008. During her return season, she competed in six tournaments, missing the cut in all of them and only breaking 80 in three of the twelve rounds she played. The following year, she competed in three tournaments but failed to make the cut, finishing with a low score of 76. In 2002, she was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame of the state of Georgia.
Lopez is the first and only woman in LPGA history to win the Rookie of the Year award, Player of the Year award, and the Vare Trophy, all in the same calendar year (1978). Nancy Lopez Golf is a woman-owned company that produces a full line of women's golf clubs and accessories. She also contributes to television commentary on a variety of topics from time to time.
Lopez was married to Tim Melton, a sportscaster in Houston, for a decade beginning in 1979 and ending in 1982. Lopez tied the knot in Pelham, Georgia, in October 1982 with Ray Knight, who was then a member of the Houston Astros, was a Major League All-Star baseball player at the time of the wedding. They were married for 27 years before separating in 2009. They have three daughters. During their marriage, Lopez and Knight lived in Lopez's hometown of Albany, Georgia, where he was born. Nancy Lopez Hospice Golf Classic at Doublegate Country Club to benefit Albany Community Hospice has been held every year since 1986, and she has continued to do it every year since her divorce from Knight in 2009.
She has raised more than $1 million for the hospice since 1986. AIM (Adventures in Movement) is a nonprofit that aids mentally challenged, visually impaired, hearing impaired, physically crippled, and other children and people with special needs. She is now living in The Villages, Florida, where she holds an annual golf event to generate cash for the charity. She has served as the tournament's host since 1981 and is also a national ambassador for the Association of International Modelers (AIM). Lopez made a $5,000 donation to the Republican National Committee during the 2008 election cycle. In 2017, Lopez tied the knot with Ed Russell for the third time.
|Birth Date:||6 Jan, 1957|
|Citizenship:||United States of America|
|Education:||University of Tulsa|
|Description:||American professional golfer|
|Spouse:||Ray Knight [M. 1982]|
|Net Worth 2021:||10 million|