But there is one somewhat unheralded woman amateur who richly deserves to be included in this exalted company – Carol Semple Thompson.
The record speaks for itself: seven USGA championships, a record 12 Curtis Cup selections (plus two more as non-playing captain) and a record number of appearances in USGA individual competitions.
As an individual Thompson’s benevolence extends beyond the confines of the golf course. Her dignity, integrity and graciousness have made Thompson one of the game’s great ambassadors, and in 2003 the USGA bestowed its highest honor on Thompson by naming her the recipient of the Bob Jones Award. The award is annually given to an individual in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf and seeks to recognize a person who emulates Jones’ spirit, his personal qualities and attitude toward the game and its players.
Golf was engrained into Thompson at an early age. Both her parents played and gave back to the game. Her father, Harton, served on the USGA Executive Committee and was president from 1974-75, and her mother, Phyllis, was on several committees. Two decades later, Carol would follow her father to the Executive Committee, serving from 1994-2000. Even after retiring from the Executive Committee, Thompson has remained heavily involved with the USGA’s Museum Committee, playing an active role in the renovations, along with the creation of the Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History.
On the golf course, Thompson has twice captained victorious USA Curtis Cup teams, in 2006 and 2008, the latter coming in June of 2008 at the Old Course in St. Andrews, Scotland.