Formerly called the Los Angeles Open, the Genesis Invitational is a very old tournament on the PGA Tour. It was notably the scene in 1945 of the first qualification of a woman in the United States, the immense Babe Zaharias.
Created in 1926, the genesis by invitation it is the fourth oldest tournament on the PGA Tour (after the BMW Championship, the Canadian Open and the Texas Open). Historically better known as the Los Angeles Open, it has hosted several times the greatest female athlete of the 20th centurydesignated as such in the United States.
Athletics, basketball, baseball, hockey, diving, billiards, tennis… and golf
After his fantastic Olympic Games in Los Angeles 1932, where he won 3 medals in athletics, including 2 gold, Mildred She “Babe” Didrikson (1911-1956) Don’t really roll on this metal. Gifted in all sports, she is now in love with golf. After only 3 years of practice, she embarked on the amateur circuit under the circumspect gaze of the fair sex.
Ostracized by women golfers
His masculine look, his indelicate manners, his clothes (without having the audacity to wear pants!), and above all the length of your ball they are very scary. So much so that, accused of professionalism in 1935, he was wiped off the amateur calendar map plain and simple. Where do you play when the professional circuit does not yet exist?
A door of salvation among men
Therefore, it is mainly by default and greed that the athlete comes to rub shoulders with masculine drives. He played in several secondary competitions before receiving invitations from sponsors for the Cascades opened in 1935 (the first time a woman played on the PGA Tour) and the Chicago Open in 1937, however without making the cut.
love before victories
At that time, these two tournaments were minor compared to the Los Angeles Open. The golfer, who would go on to win 10 Majors between 1940 and 1954, first took part there in 1938. Her success was there, but she was far from sporty: during the two rounds above 80, she made the knowledge of a star fighter, George Zaharias, her future husband.
Free from financial worries and after a lucrative tour with Gene Sarazen, Babe Zaharias has become a true star of the white ball. Coming out of a 3-year purgatory to regain his amateur status, he won the first titles. But in 1945, he tried his luck again at the Los Angeles Open, a tournament that later helped the war effort by issuing … bonds to the pros.
three past cuts
On this occasion, on January 5, 1945, in the company of Ed Furgol (future winner of the 1954 US Open) achieved the feat of crossing the cut after two rounds (76-81), ahead of 84 seasoned players. But an additional cut, failed on Saturday (also 79), prevents him from contesting the last lap, finally won by sam snead who, in these times of war, played with the same ball throughout the competition!
Released, Babe also qualifies for the Phoenix Open (33rd) and Tucson Open (42nd). She thus becomes the first woman from the United States to have crossed the cut in the men’s category. And this three times.
One of the founders of the LPGA
An icon of women’s golf, she is one of the 13 founders of the LPGA, created in 1950. Thanks to her, women’s golf has taken on another dimension. Having returned to professional life, she continued her litany of victories (41 total) and continues to be the headliner of a circuit that will mourn his death in 1956, at the age of 45, due to cancer.