Women's History Month Feature: Babe Didrikson Zaharias

The month of March signifies the beginning of Women’s history Month. In honor of this occasion, we will be featuring an outstanding woman from history, highlighting the amazing accomplishments of women in our nation’s storied past

Our next installment features Babe Didrikson Zaharias, an accomplished athlete who was the first woman to compete in a PGA Tour event.

Babe was born in 1911 to Norwegian immigrants in Texas. She says her nickname Babe was given to her upon hitting 5 home runs in a baseball game. She was an exceptional athlete, gaining world fame for track and field and being an All-American basketball player. 

Aside from her athletic achievements, Babe was also a competitive sewer and adept harmonica player. Her first job out of school was as a secretary at an insurance company, but this was only so she could play on the AAU basketball team.


Babe was such an accomplished athlete that she set 4 world records at the 1932 Olympics and won 2 golds and a silver in track and field. To this day, she is the only athlete, male or female, to win individual medals in throwing, running and jumping events.

After the Olympics, in 1935, Babe took up the sport of golf, quickly excelling. In 1938, less than 3 years after learning the sport, she became the first woman to participate in a men's PGA Tour event. She would go one to compete in three other events, making the cut in two of them. To this date, no other woman has accomplished this feat. 

Babe became the most successful women's golfer of the 1940s and 1950s, winning the US and British Amateur tournaments.

Babe was diagnosed with cancer in 1953 but recovered enough to return to golf in 1954. She even won the Women's Open Championship one month after surgery and while waring a colostomy bag.

Her cancer returned and she eventually succumbed in 1956. She was undoubtedly the most popular and successful female athlete of the first half of the 20th century.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published