The untold story of golf legend Mickey Wright, who left her entire estate to the USGA

FAR HILLS, N.J. – Locked away behind two sets of gray steel double doors in the basement of the USGA Golf Museum and Library, Mickey Wright’s life was laid out on a long white table. If that sounds cold and impersonal, rest assured it was not.

There was only one trophy on the table – from her 82nd and final victory on the LPGA at the 1973 Colgate-Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle. That particular piece of hardware once sat on her desk with a USGA Christmas ornament dangling from it.

Wright, who died in February, three days after her 85th birthday, loved the USGA. From the four USGA stickers on her Mercury Grand Marquis to the countless pieces of memorabilia that she kept – including two U.S. Senior Women’s Open trophy pins from championships that she did not play.

The four-time U.S. Women’s Open winner loved the USGA so much, in fact, that she bequeathed her entire estate to the organization and asked that her ashes be placed beneath the bay window of the Mickey Wright Room, which opened in 2012. Wright never visited the room but kept a scrapbook of articles that were written about it.

When museum director Hilary Cronheim first entered Wright’s modest South Florida home two weeks after her death, she thought she might find additional medals or trophies for the existing exhibit. But she didn’t. Those had already been archived. What Cronheim and her colleagues instead found was the rest of Mickey, the untold story of the intensely private champion.

“She had this reputation of being a hermit toward the end of her life,” said Cronheim, “and when we were down there in her home, nothing could be further from the truth.”

Wright died of a heart attack on Feb. 17, several weeks after being hospitalized for a fall. The mystery novel that she’d been reading was still on her bed, next to her pajamas and a pair of neatly folded socks.

“It was a lot to walk into,” said museum curator Rosemary Maravetz.

Three USGA colleagues carefully sorted through the possessions of Wright and her longtime companion Peggy Wilson, a former LPGA player who now resides in an assisted living facility.

Some of the best discoveries were made inside Wright’s shed, surrounded by mounds of potting soil. Wright loved Bonsai trees. So many Ross Perot buttons and posters were found that it looked like she’d once campaigned for the two-time presidential candidate. Handmade clothes indicate that Wright might have been a seamstress. She was most certainly a sculptor and, by the looks of it, their beloved cat “Pie” was a suitable model.

Wright enjoyed fishing behind her house as well as in the ocean. A wearable tackle box sat on the museum’s working table near several strands of pearls. Her favorite shade of Revlon lipstick was Love that Pink, and the meticulous champion had stockpiled 10 tubes of it.

Wright carefully charted

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By: Beth Ann Nichols
Title: The untold story of golf legend Mickey Wright, who left her entire estate to the USGA
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Published Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2020 14:01:07 +0000

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