LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame member JoAnne Carner is eager to compete on home turf this summer when The Legends Tour heads to the Pacific Northwest.
A native of Kirkland, Wash., a suburb east of Seattle, Carner plans to be in the field when the Legends Tour stages the Suquamish Clearwater Legends Cup presented by Boeing. The event is set for June 8-10, at the White Horse Golf Club.
“I was thrilled when I got the invitation,” said Carner, who won 43 LPGA tournaments, including the LPGA’s 1985 Safeco Classic at home in Washington. “The courses in Seattle are so pretty and tree-lined with rolling hills, and everything is so lush and green. At that time of year, we should have beautiful weather.”
Blessed with longevity in an LPGA career that spanned from 1970-2005, Carner became the oldest player to make an LPGA Tour tournament cut at age 65 in 2004. Now based in south Florida, she keeps her game sharp with regular matches against longtime friend and fellow World Golf Hall of Famer, Canadian Marlene Stewart Streit, who winters in Florida.
“We play five to seven days a week during the winter months,” said Carner, who needed five extra holes to defeat Streit in an epic 41-hole match at the 1966 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. “She’s tough, but we always have a lot of fun.”
Carner underwent a successful hip replacement in March 2017 and has focused on her recovery with stretching and rehab. She returned home to Greater Seattle for several weeks in March this year to assist with family illnesses and has been mowing just over 18 acres of grass at her sister’s former horse farm during her visit.
“I’ve done a little walking out on the farm, but I’ve got to figure out how to walk five miles each day,” Carner said. “I’ve been riding that golf cart back in Florida for too long.”
Carner, who turns 79 in April, can still shoot her age -- “easily,” she says -- and plans to compete in the United States Golf Association’s inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open, set for July 12-15.
“I received an exemption, so if everything goes well, I’ll be teeing it up at that USGA championship,” said Carner, who has won eight national championships, including the 1956 U.S. Girls’ Junior, five U.S. Women’s Amateur titles, and the 1971 and 1976 U.S. Women’s Open Championship.
“I still love playing,” added Carner, who received the USGA’s 1981 Bob Jones Award as the highest honor given in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf. “It’s great to see everyone at these [Legends Tour] events, but I still want to play good golf.”
“I’ve lost some length off the tee, which is aggravating, but it’s still fun to compete and I can still knock in a four-footer for a little money,” added Carner with a chuckle.
In addition, Carner is looking forward to playing White Horse Golf Club for the first time.
“I hear it’s a great course and I know it will be beautiful for us,” she said. “All the big fir trees in Seattle are a lot different than the palm trees in Florida.”
A field of 30 Legends, including LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame members Pat Bradley and Betsy King, will compete for $175,000 in the event.
The tournament pro-am is set for Friday, June 8, followed by the 36-hole professional competition on Saturday and Sunday, June 9-10.
For more information about the event or to buy tournament tickets online, visit www.ClearwaterLegendsCup.com.
About The Legends Tour
The Legends Tour is the official senior tour of the LPGA, providing competitive opportunities for female golfers, professional and eligible amateurs, age 45 and over. The tour was founded in 2000 by 25 veteran LPGA Tour professionals to showcase the talents of some of the greatest women’s golfers of all time. The Legends Tour now has more than 120 members, including 14 LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame members. Legends Tour members have over 750 combined LPGA Tour victories, including 84 major championships. In its 17 seasons, The Legends Tour has awarded more than $16 million in prize money and helped raise over $22 million for charity. The Legends Tour has hosted nearly 100 charity golf events and professional tournaments nationwide in multiple states and overseas in Japan and Australia. For additional information on The Legends Tour, log on to www.thelegendstour.com.