The recent announcement by Australian LPGA Tour player Wendy Doolan of her retirement from competitive golf brings to an end the career of a player whose success often escaped the attention of many, especially those in her homeland.
Much of that is because she seldom played in Australia in recent years but there is little doubt she should be recognised as being perhaps amongst the leading five or six Australian female golfers of all time.
Doolan’s final event came fittingly at the recent Evian Masters as it was this event which gave her arguably her greatest moment in the game when she defeated Annika Sorenstam at the 2004 version of the tournament, the equal richest in the game, after starting the final round five behind the Swede.
The 43 year old New South Welshwoman turned professional in 1991 after finishing runner-up a the British Amateur and finally made it to the LPGA Tour in 1996 at about the same time as Karrie Webb arrived on the scene in that country.
Her first LPGA Tour victory came at the LPGA Champions Classic in 2001 after it had been shortened to 36 holes. She would also win the Welch’s Frys Championship in 2003 before her crowning glory came when she won the Evian Masters.
Doolan has fought a particularly brave battle against breast cancer and injury in the latter part of her career and despite now being healthy and fit she has been unable to recapture the game and enjoyment which made her so successful in earlier days.
Doolan has LPGA Tour earnings of close to US$3 million but now she is looking forward to spending time with her family and perhaps a role in the administration of the LPGA Tour.