Top 50 Women Golfers of All-Time

01
of 10

Top 50 Female Golfers: No. 50 to No. 46

Rosie Jones at the 2005 Mitchell Company Tournament of Champions
Rosie Jones. A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

50. Jane Geddes
Geddes posted good career numbers in a highly competitive era, built around one great season: In 1987, she won five times, finished second four times, and claimed one of her two majors championships.

49. Beverly Hanson
Hanson won the 1950 U.S. Women's Amateur, then was a consistent winner in the first decade of the LPGA Tour's history. She finished with 17 career wins, three of which were majors.

48. Liselotte Neumann
The Swede who preceeded the Queen Swede (Annika, natch), Neumann's first LPGA victory was the U.S. Women's Open. She's won 12 more times in America and numerous times in Europe, Japan, Australia and elsewhere.

47. Dorothy Campbell
Campbell was the first international star of women's golf. She won four combined British and U.S. amateurs, then left golf for nearly a decade to focus on married life. When she returned, she discovered the game had passed by her quirky swing. Campbell, near 40, completely rebuilt her grip and swing over 10 months, then went out and won another U.S. Women's Am. One of the all-time great short game players.

46. Rosie Jones
Jones was a hallmark of consistency and competitiveness throughout her career, and she got better as she got older. Her best seasons were from 1999 to 2003, in her 40s. Jones finished with 13 victories and a reputation as one of the finest at course management.

02
of 10

Top 50 Female Golfers: No. 45 to No. 41

Stacy Lewis during the 2015 ANA Inspiration tournament
Stacy Lewis is a fast-riser in our Top 50 Female Golfers of All-Time rankings. Robert Laberge/Getty Images

45. Shirley Englehorn
Englehorn's career was marked by LPGA successes interrupted by a series of illnesses and injuries, until she busted out with her best season (four wins, one major) - only to have the most serious injury of all essentially end her career at age 30. Englehorn still finished with 11 wins, including an LPGA Championship.

44. Suzann Pettersen
Pettersen seems to always be in the mix, and has numerous top finishes in majors. Two of those are victories, including one at the LPGA Championship and also in 2013 at the Evian Championship in its first year after elevation to major status. Overall, through that 2013 Evian, Pettersen had 13 wins in LPGA events.

43. Stacy Lewis
Lewis was a model of consistency in the early 2010s: Her first win in 2011, four in 2012, three each in 2013 and 2014. Add a scoring title and two Player of the Year awards, and Lewis is a player on the way up these rankings.

42. Jiyai Shin
One of the oddest careers in our rankings. Before she was even 25 years, Shin compiled 10 LPGA Tour wins and two majors (2008 and 2012 Women's British Opens). Then she quit the LPGA to play in Japan, closer to her Korean home. She doesn't even play most of the majors anymore. Before joining the LPGA she won 20+ times on the KLPGA. After quitting the LPGA, she continued winning in Japan and now has double-digit victories on the JLPGA.

41. Chako Higuchi
The force behind the creation of the Japan LPGA and whose star power helped that tour survive and thrive in its early years, Higuchi was the first Japanese player to win a major championship. She dominated in Japan but played sparingly in the U.S., but still finished as high as 10th on the money list. She did win two LPGA tournaments, including the 1977 LPGA Championship.

03
of 10

Top 50 Female Golfers: No. 40 to No. 36

Golfer Betty Jameson in San Antonio, Texas, in the 1940s.
Betty Jameson was a pioneer in women's professional golf, and the first woman to break 300 in a 72-hole tournament. Hulton Archive / Getty Images

40. Betty Jameson
Jameson was a force in the pre-LPGA Tour era of women's golf, winning two U.S. Amateurs, the Western Open (a major), and the U.S. Women's Open prior to 1948. Jameson was the first female golfer to score under 300 in a 72-hole tournament - doing so at the U.S. Women's Open that she won.

39. Cristie Kerr
The 2007 U.S. Women's Open was Kerr's first major, and got her into double-digits for total LPGA Tour wins. A consistent performer in an ultra-competitive era, in 2010, she added her second major at the LPGA Championship. In early 2015 Kerr won her 17th overall LPGA title.

38. Inbee Park
No. 38 and rising fast: Park, through the early part of the 2015 schedule, already had 14 LPGA wins and five majors. She won the first three majors of the year in 2013, the first LPGA golfer in the modern era to do so. Park was also the first Korean golfer to win the LPGA's Player of the Year award.

37. Yani Tseng
Tseng won the 2011 LPGA Championship for her fourth career major at the tender age of 22. Major No. 5 came at the Women's British Open that year. The sky seemed the limit for Tseng ... until she hit a roadblock. Tseng hasn't won since 2012. If she doesn't right her game, we'll probably have to drop her lower in the rankings before too much longer.

36. Marilynn Smith
Smith, known as "Miss Personality," worked tirelessly to promote women's golf during her long career. She must have worked pretty hard at her game, too. Her first LPGA Tour win was in 1954, and her last was in 1972. In between were 19 other victories and a pair of majors. Smith also has the distinction of scoring the first double-eagle in LPGA history.

04
of 10

Top 50 Female Golfers: No. 35 to No. 31

Glenna Collett Vare
Glenna Collett Vare was a 6-time winner of the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship. Photo courtesy of the World Golf Hall of Fame; used with permission

35. Marlene Hagge
Very similar to Marilynn Smith in the scope of her career. As 16-year-old Marlene Bauer in 1950, she was a cofounder of the LPGA Tour. She played competitively in each of the Tour's first five decades. And Hagge posted 26 victories including one major championship.

34. Glenna Collett Vare
The greatest female American amateur golfer, Vare was often called "the female Bobby Jones" in her day. A great driver and a great sportsman, in 1924 she won 59 of 60 matches played. She is the only 6-time winner of the U.S. Women's Amateur. The LPGA Tour's Vare Trophy for low scoring average is named in her honor.

33. Ayako Okamoto
Okamoto followed a few years behind Chako Higuchi on the Japan LPGA. While Higuchi did something Okamoto didn't - win a major - Okamoto did something Higuchi didn't: play full-time on the American LPGA. Okamoto's years in America were productive ones, too, as they included 17 victories, a money title and Player of the Year award.

32. Susie Berning
Susie Maxwell Berning, more than any other great female player, restricted her tournament schedule to focus more on family. Only four times in her career did she play in 20 or more tournaments in a season. So her win total - 11 - seems low. But four of those 11 were majors, including three U.S. Women's Opens.

31. Sally Little
Little is one of several golfers in the Top 50 whose careers might have been even better had injury not affected them. In Little's case, she had won 12 times in four years then underwent two major surgeries and won only once more. That one additional victory, however, was the 1988 du Maurier Classic, one of her two major championships.

05
of 10

Top 50 Female Golfers: No. 30 to No. 26

Hollis Stacy
Hollis Stacy won 18 times on the LPGA Tour, including four major championships. Photo courtesy of the LPGA; used with permission

30. Jan Stephenson
Her reputation as the Tour's sexy glamour girl often overshadowed how good Stephenson's golf was. She was a consistent threat at the top of the leaderboard through much of her career, winning 16 times with three majors.

29. Sandra Palmer
Palmer was at her best in the early to mid-1970s, winning the money title and Player of the Year award in 1975. Palmer went seven years without winning after first joining the Tour, then won at least once in each of the following seven seasons. She was in the Top 10 on the money list every year from 1968 through 1977 and finished with 19 wins on Tour.

28. Jane Blalock
She won early and she won often. She won in 1970 and she won in 1985. She won four times in a year four different years. She finished in the Top 10 on the money list 10 straight years and 11 total. What Blalock never did was win a major championship, nor a major award (Player of the Year, money title, scoring title). Her 27 wins are the most by any LPGA Tour player without a major.

27. Hollis Stacy
Stacy was never a dominant player - she finished in the Top 10 on the money list only five times in a career that stretched from 1976 to 2000 - but she was always a dangerous one. Especially when the stakes were high. Stacy won the U.S. Women's Open three times, and added a fourth major among her 18 total wins.

26. Donna Caponi
Caponi's career had a bit of an odd trajectory. But the end result was 24 wins and four majors. She won majors in 1969 and 1970, then cooled off, then 10 years later won more majors. Caponi won 10 times total in 1980-81, then never won again.

06
of 10

Top 50 Female Golfers: No. 25 to No. 21

Laura Davies
Big-hitting Laura Davies makes our Top 25 with wins all over the world. By Scott Halleran/Getty Images; © Getty Images/Allsport USA; courtesy of LPGA, used with permission

25. Meg Mallon
Like Hollis Stacy, Meg Mallon has 18 wins and four majors. But Mallon posted those titles in a career that spanned a slightly later time period on the LPGA Tour (and slightly later means slightly more depth on Tour), was better longer, and was better at her best.

24. Dottie Pepper
She won two majors, but Pepper's career victory total of 17 is the lowest of any golfer in our Top 25. So her career value is below anyone ranked ahead of her, and several of those ranked behind her. But her peak value was very high. From 1991-96, Pepper finished no lower than fifth on the money list and won 12 times. In 1992, she led in money and scoring and was Player of the Year. Pepper is another player whose career was first impacted, then ended early, by injuries.

23. Laura Davies
Twenty career wins on the LPGA Tour, four majors, around 30 wins on other tours, an LPGA money title, an LPGA Player of the Year award, and several Ladies European Tour money titles. Laura Davies clearly deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame, even though she sits two points short of automatic induction.

22. Lorena Ochoa
A 27-time winner, Ochoa had a breakout year in 2006 that followed on the heels of several seasons of consistent Top 10 play. A birdie machine, Ochoa set the LPGA record for most birdies in a year in 2004. In 2006, she won six times, ended Annika Sorenstam's 5-year run atop the money list, and won the Vare Trophy with the fourth-lowest scoring average in Tour history. And she earned Player of the Year honors. She won her first major at the 2007 Women's British Open. When she announced her retirement in 2010, Ochoa had won three money titles, four scoring titles and four Player of the Year awards.

21. Joyce Wethered
Wethered was the greatest female golfer of the pre-World War II era. Many rank Glenna Collett Vare ahead of her, but Wethered was the better player based on results and what her contemporaries said about her. The results: Vare and Wethered met in competition three times, and Wethered won all three times. The testimonials: Among others, Bobby Jones said he felt "outclassed" by Wethered's ballstriking. Her career was short, but dominating. She also ranks as one of the all-time best with a driver.

07
of 10

Top 50 Female Golfers: No. 20 to No. 16

Se Ri Pak
The immediate success of Se Ri Pak in America launched an influx of Korean golfers to the LPGA. By Andy Lyons/Getty Images; © Getty Images/Allsport USA; courtesy of LPGA and used with permission

20. Judy Rankin
Rankin is the greatest player in golf history - male or female - without a major championship victory. She won one fewer times than Jane Blalock, also without a major, but she accomplished more overall and had a higher peak value than Blalock. Blalock never won a money title; Rankin won two. Blalock never won a scoring title; Rankin won three. Blalock never was Player of the Year; Rankin was, twice. Rankin once finished in the Top 10 25 times in a single season. And she did it all while fighting terrible, chronic back pain during her best years that eventually forced her out of golf. With a better back and more time, Rankin might have wound up in the Top 10 on this list. But it's what she did - not what she might have done - that lands her at No. 20.

19. Carol Mann
Mann won 38 times in her LPGA career, including 10 times in one year. She's one of several golfers on this list (leading all the way up to Nancy Lopez) who won fewer majors than one would expect - just two. But the LPGA Tour did have many years in Mann's career when there were only two majors, or three, per season, rather than today's four.

18. Se Ri Pak
She opened the door for the Korean influx to the LPGA Tour, and what a worthy pioneer Pak has turned out to be: 25 wins, five majors, a scoring title. Nearly all of those wins happened in just six seasons following her 2-major-wins rookie season of 1998. Pak was later beset by nagging injuries, won only once after 2007 and retired in 2016.

17. Beth Daniel
You can make a case that out of all her great contemporaries - Bradley, Sheehan, King, Inkster, Alcott - Daniel had the most pure talent. She won money titles, scoring titles, Player of the Year awards, and tournaments - 33 of them. What she didn't win was multiple majors. Those others players each won at least five.

16. Amy Alcott
Twenty-nine wins and five majors. Hard to argue with that.

08
of 10

Top 50 Female Golfers: No. 15 to No. 11

Pat Bradley
Pat Bradley's greatest year was 1986, when she nearly won the Grand Slam. Photo courtesy of the LPGA; used with permission

15. Sandra Haynie
Forty-two wins, four majors in a career that stretched from 1961 to 1990. Hard to argue with that, either. Haynie would be much better remembered today as one of the all-time greats had she not had the misfortune of having most of her best years overshadowed by the juggernaut known as Kathy Whitworth.

14. Betsy Rawls
One of the Big Four (along with Berg, Suggs and the Babe) in the early days of the LPGA Tour, Rawls was competitive longer than any of the others, not winning her final major until 1969. She finished with 55 LPGA Tour victories, including eight majors (four of them U.S. Women's Open titles).

13. Juli Inkster
Inkster is a difficult player to firmly place on this list. Among her top contemporaries (Sheehan, Bradley, Alcott, Daniel, Lopez, King), Inkster was easily the most inconsistent. Her 31 wins are in line with the others' win totals (except Lopez's 48), but she didn't contend week-in-and-week-out, and had the fewest Top 10s. Inkster never won a money title, scoring title, or Player of the Year award. But she does have seven majors - more than any of those other golfers. And Inkster has some great extra credit: three straight U.S. Women's Amateur championships.

12. Patty Sheehan
Like Inkster, Sheehan never won a money title. Unlike Inkster, Sheehan did win a scoring title. She also won 35 tournaments and six majors, and wracked up lots of Top 10s in a career whose consistency boosts her ahead of Inkster on this list.

11. Pat Bradley
She posted the same six majors as Sheehan, but "only" 30 career wins compared to Sheehan's 35. Bradley also wracked up tons of Top 10s (and Top 3s). Her highs were just a little bit higher than Sheehan's - Bradley won two money titles, two Vare Trophies and two Player of the Year awards. And in 1986, three of the four LPGA majors.

09
of 10

Top 50 Female Golfers: No. 10 to No. 6

Patty Berg
Patty Berg won the first of her 15 majors in 1937, and her last in 1958. Photo courtesy of the World Golf Hall of Fame; used with permission

10. Louise Suggs
The big-hitting "Miss Sluggs" posted 58 wins and 11 major championships, plus wins at the U.S. and British amateurs. She also provided one of the philosophies behind the building of this Top 50 ranking. Suggs once explained in an interview about the earlest days of the LPGA Tour: "Our fields were filled out with local amateurs, because that was the only way to build a tournament. We had maybe 15, 20 pros and that's it." The LPGA has seen much greater depth and competitiveness with each succeeding group of golfers. That's why the farther back you go in women's golf (and men's, albeit not to the same extent), you have to apply a bit of discount to the numbers. Still, 58 wins and 11 majors - discount or not - is pretty good stuff.

9. Betsy King
In her first seven years on Tour, King didn't win once. Then she won at least once each of the next 10 years, with plenty of seconds, thirds, Top 10s, scoring titles, money titles and Player of the Year awards to boot.

8. Patty Berg
In 1935, she faced Glenna Collett Vare in the finals of the U.S. Women's Amateur. In 1980, when Beth Daniel was in her second year as a pro, Berg played for the final time on the LPGA Tour. She is credited with 60 wins by the LPGA. Fifteen of them (the women's record) were majors - although 14 of those were evenly split between the Titleholders and Western Open, tour tournaments long since defunct.

7. Karrie Webb
The question to consider isn't whether Webb belongs this high this fast, but just how high she'll eventually get. My guess is when her career ends, she'll be at No. 4 in my rankings.

6. JoAnne Carner
Karrie Webb played her way into the Hall of Fame in her 20s. In her 20s, Carner won five U.S. Women's Amateurs - she didn't turn pro until age 30. Yet she still won 43 Tour events, plus a slew of awards, money titles and scoring titles.

10
of 10

Top 50 Female Golfers: No. 5 to No. 1

Annika Sorenstam is the greatest female golfer of all-time
Many argue in favor of Mickey Wright, some for Kathy Whitworth; but Annika Sorenstam is our pick as No. 1 of all-time. S. Levin/Getty Images

5. Nancy Lopez
Lopez won 48 times, the most of her era. She also had the biggest individual seasons of her era. And her era was a fantastic one. These factors should put her in the running for No. 1. But they don't, for one simple reason: Lopez won only three majors. That's just not enough for someone to be considered the best ever. But she was clearly No. 1 among all her great contemporaries.

4. Babe Didrikson Zaharias
You can, however, construct an argument that Zaharias is the greatest of all-time. It goes like this: The Babe's accomplishments (41 recognized Tour wins, many more amateur wins, 10 majors), unlike those of her contemporaries (Berg, Suggs, et.al.), don't deserve the previously mentioned historical discount (see Suggs at No. 10) because Babe proved the absolute value of those accomplishments in other venues. Specifically, against the men: In 1945, Zaharias played four PGA Tour events, and made the 36-hole cut in three of them. No other woman - to date - can claim such success. Plus, there's what others said about her; Patty Berg said finishing second to Babe was like winning. So she's in the mix, but in the final evaluation three others come out ahead.

3. Kathy Whitworth
Whitworth won 88 LPGA Tour events, more than any other woman, and more than any man has won on any tour. 'Nuff said.

2. Mickey Wright
Wright won 82 times, with 13 majors, and once posted double-digit wins in four straight years. And she did it despite giving up the full-time touring life by age 34. She was almost always considered the best-ever until you-know-who came along ...

1. Annika Sorenstam
Her numbers are as big as those of Berg and Suggs, Wright and Whitworth, yet Sorenstam has posted those numbers against, by far, the deepest, most competitive fields in the history of women's golf. And that's why she's the greatest female golfer of all-time.