Remembering Heather Farr, LPGA Golfer

Heather Farr was an amateur golf champion and LPGA Tour member whose 4-and-a-half year battle with cancer took her life before she turned 29 years old. Since the mid-1990s, the LPGA has given an annual award in her memory.

Date of birth: March 10, 1965

Place of birth: Phoenix, Arizona

Date and place of death: November 20, 1993 in Scottsdale, Arizona

Nickname: Mighty Mouse because she was small throughout her life; as an adult, Farr was 5-foot-1, one of the shortest LPGA players.

Farr's Biggest Wins

Farr did not win in her relatively short time on the LPGA Tour, but did earn two USGA national championship titles as an amateur:
  • 1982 U.S. Girls' Junior
  • 1984 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links

Heather Farr's Road to the LPGA Tour

Farr first took golf lessons at age seven. Her sister Missy, also a future competitive golfer, took up the sport, too. Heather won her first tournament of any kind at age 10, and her first big win — the Arizona State Women's Amateur — came at age 13.

At age 15, she was named National Player of the Year by the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA), the first of two times she won that award. Farr played high school golf at Xavier College Preparatory, a private, all-girls school in Phoenix, and won three consecutive Arizona state high school championships.

After graduating high school a year early in 1982, Heather Farr enrolled at Arizona State University. There she was named to the NCAA All-America team twice.

At age 18, Farr played in her first LPGA major, the 1983 U.S. Women's Open. She finished tied for 11th and earned low amateur honors. It wound up being her best-ever finish in a major. Farr played on Team USA in the 1984 Curtis Cup and the 1984 World Amateur (Espiritu Santo Trophy).

She turned pro in 1985 and earned her LPGA card through Q-School. At 20, Farr was the youngest Q-School graduate that year. Her LPGA rookie season was 1986.

Farr quickly became one of the most popular players among her peers with her upbeat nature. The New York Times described her game this way:

"Because of her small stature, Farr could not hit the ball as far as many of her peers. But she made up for that with an excellent short game, a wonderful putting stroke and passionate aggressiveness."
She progressed each year on tour and in 1988 had her best season: six Top 10 finishes, a career-best third place at the Mazda Classic, and a career-best $75,821 in earnings.

Her Illness, Death and Legacy

Midway through the following LPGA season, in July 1989, Heather Farr was diagnosed with breast cancer. (She was given the LPGA Founders Award at the end of the season.) Following months of chemotherapy, Farr was able to play some tour events in 1990.

But soon it was discovered that the cancer had metastasized and was in Farr's skull and spine. According to the New York Times, from the time of her first diagnosis "Farr underwent more than 15 operations, ranging from a radical mastectomy to breast reconstruction to bone marrow transplants and spinal surgery."

Tumors on her back, skull and hip were removed. In March of 1992, Farr felt good enough to get married to former NFL kicker Goran Lingmerth. She was up to playing several holes in a skins game during an LPGA tournament in April of 1992.

But a month later, more cancer was discovered. She underwent multiple surgeries through 1993, which began causing other complications. In November 1993, Farr had surgery to relieve pressure from a brain hemorrhage.

Nine days later, she died at the of of 28. Along with numerous family members and friends, there were 12 LPGA golfers at the hospital at the time of Farr's death.

Farr's sister Missy Farr-Kaye also played golf at Arizona State University, later survived several bouts with cancer, and became a national-championship winning coach at her and her sister's alma mater.

The family created and for years ran the Heather Farr Foundation to raise money for breast cancer research. One of Heather's friends and fellow LPGA pros created the Val Skinner Foundation to raise money and awareness.

And the LPGA Tour, in 1994, created the Heather Farr Award. The honor, given annually, goes to an LPGA Tour golfer "who, through her hard work, dedication and love of the game of golf, has demonstrated determination, perseverance and spirit in fulfilling her goals as a player, qualities for which Farr is so fondly remembered."

Heather Farr is a member of the National High School Sports Hall of Fame, the Arizona High School Sports Hall of Fame, the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, and the Arizona State University Sun Devils' Hall of Fame.

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