WHATTA WOMAN


Our report on golfer Annika Sorenstam [SPORT, May 26] noted that she was the first woman to play in a Professional Golf Association tournament since Babe Didrikson Zaharias in 1945. Zaharias, who died in 1956, was than just a golfer; she was a one-woman sports phenomenon who also excelled in basketball, baseball and Olympic track-and-field events. TIME brought its readers up to date on what Zaharias was doing in a March 10, 1947, report:


          ‘There are few men in the land who can outdrive husky Babe

          Didrikson ..... but the Babe contributes more to ladies’ golf than

          just swat: she is a crowd puller .....the Babe in her showmanship

          is as subtle as a punch on the nose. When she spotted a photo- 

          grapher trying to take her picture, she yelled, ‘I’m not so bad that

          you have to have your thumb over the lens, am I?’ ... [SHE] IS

          STILL THE WORLD’S TOP WOMAN ATHLETE. BUT SHE

          IS NO LONGER THE ROUGH.&-TUMBLE TOMBOY... [she]

          wears silly hats, nylons and red fingernail polish when she dresses

          up


The retreat from tomboyishness began when she married cauliflower-eared and famous [wrestler] George Zaharias.....After they were married, they kept on golfing together. On the fourth tee at Brentwood one day, the Babe hit a terrific drive down the fairway. Then George, just a plain country golfer.....hit the ball about 3 yds. farther than the Babe. Said Babe: ‘I always said I could fall in love with a man strong enough to outdrive me.”’



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