CLIFTON, New Jersey The Cognizant Pioneers Cup commemorates all 13 LPGA founders, but one in particular will be remembered this year: Shirley Spork.
Marlene Hagge is the sole surviving LPGA founder, having died on April 12 at the age of 94. Spork learned she will be inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame two weeks before she died.
From Upper Montclair Country Club, Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez told Golf Today, “Shirley was really precious to all of us, and we’re missing her this week.”
“Shirley embodied everything golf stands for,” Lopez remarked. “Great attitude about going out and being a nice sport. Playing, appreciating, and loving golf in the same manner she did. She enjoyed teaching (golf) and did so in her later years. But she was just the person she was. The LPGA Tour and this game were represented in a classy and professional manner. And all those tiny kids out there need to learn more about Shirley Spork and understand what a remarkable woman she was. Also, as my husband advises many folks, Google her.”
Even in her later years, Spork left an impression on the LPGA’s rising players.
Spork presented Jin Young Ko with the Founders Cup trophy last year at Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell, New Jersey, a moment the current world No. 1 will never forget.
“At the champion’s ceremony last year, [Spork] commented, ‘You have a terrific swing, and you are very lovely,'” according to the article. Ko stated. “I had a memory of her like that.”
“I’m really sorry to hear she passed away, but she did so much for this tour, and I want to express my gratitude to all of the founders.”
Even though Spork will not be present in the winner’s circle this week, her presence will be felt throughout the event at Upper Montclair Country Club.
Nasa Hataoka, world No. 6, said, “Last year was the last time I was able to see her before she died away.” “She’ll be on my mind this week when I’m playing, and I’m really looking forward to that.”