Following Up With 'Big Mama':
February 28, 2005
When you consider the accolades JoAnne Carner has accrued in her
legendary career - two U.S. Women's Open and five U.S.
Women's Amateur titles, four Curtis Cup appearances, 43 wins
on the LPGA Tour and three LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Awards -
you'd think that she might rightly have kicked up her heels
| ||Carner's five U.S. Women's
Amateur titles rank her just one behind Glenna Collett Vare
on the all-time list. (USGA Archives)|
Hardly. Now 65, Carner, who earned the nickname "Big
Mama" by her peers, still plays on the LPGA Tour - she made
10 starts in 2004 - and holds the LPGA record as the oldest
player to make a cut. How does she account for her stamina?
"I have swing problems," she admits with a laugh,
"but I've never had the yips."
The native of Kirkland, Wash., put herself on the map in 1956
when she won the U.S. Girls' Junior at Heather Downs Country
Club in Ohio, defeating Clifford Ann Creed of Opelousas, La., in
the final, 4 and 3.
"It was my first big win," says the Hall of Famer
Carner, who still is the only individual to have won the
Women's Open, Women's Amateur and Girls' Junior.
Tiger Woods is the only male golfer to accomplish this rare
triple (U.S. Junior Amateur, U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open).
A year after her Girls' Junior triumph, Carner routed Ann
Casey Johnstone, 8 and 6, to win the Women's Amateur at Wee
Burn Country Club in Darien, Conn. Three years later, she
collected her second Women's Amateur title with a 6-and-5 win
over Jean Ashley. She defeated Ann Baker, 9 and 8, at the Country
Club of Rochester (N.Y.) in 1962 for her third Women's
Her fourth Women's Amateur crown came at the expense of
2004 World Golf Hall of Fame inductee Marlene Stewart Streit of
Canada, a 42-hole thriller at Sewickley Heights Golf Club in
Sewickley, Pa., in 1966. She defeated another legend for her
fifth and final Women's Amateur title in 1968, earning a
5-and-4 decision over Anne Sander at Birmingham (Mich.) Country
Carner then turned professional and captured the first of her
two U.S. Women's Open titles in 1971 at the Kahkwa Club in
Erie, Pa., site of the 2004 Women's Amateur. Carner's 288
total was seven shots better than Hall of Famer Kathy Whitworth.
In 1976 at Rolling Green Golf Club in Sprinfield, Pa., Carner
defeated Sandra Palmer in an 18-hole playoff.
When not on the golf course, Carner often can be found fishing
or snorkeling near her home in Palm Beach, Fla., or in the
Bahamas. She owns a 42-foot hatteras and loves going after yellow
Story written by Alan Bastable of Golf Magazine