Val Skinner: Profile of LPGA Golfer

Val Skinner was an LPGA Tour golfer whose biggest successes happened during a three-year stretch in the 1980s and another three-year stretch in the 1990s. After her playing days ended, she had a career as a broadcaster. Skinner also, in memory of a fallen friend and through charitable efforts, raised millions of dollars to support breast cancer research organizations.

Full name: Valerie Kay Skinner

Date of birth: October 16, 1960

Place of birth: Hamilton, Montana

Her Biggest Wins

Skinner had six official wins on the LPGA Tour:

In the Majors

Skinner did not record a win in any of the major championships of women's professional golf, but she did have multiple Top 10 finishes. Her closest call was finishing runner-up in the 1986 Nabisco Dinah Shore. Skinner began the final round four strokes behind the leader, Pat Bradley, and outplayed Bradley in that final round. But her 69 was only good enough to close the gap between first- and second-place to two strokes.

Skinner tied for fourth place in the 1985 du Maurier Classic, with Bradley getting that win, too. And She finished tied fifth in the 1996 LPGA Championship.

Skinner's other Top 10 finishes in majors happened at the 1993 LPGA Championship (t10), 1996 Kraft Nabisco Championship (t10), and in the U.S. Women's Open in 1995 (t10) and 1996 (t8).

More About Val Skinner

Val Skinner was born in Montana, daughter of a golf pro, and she picked up the game beginning at age 4 by mimicking her father's swing. The family moved to Nebraska when Skinner was young, and that is where she began establishing her own reputation in the game.

Her first state-level victory was in the 1974 Nebraska Junior at the age of 14. She won that title again in 1978. Skinner was the Nebraska state high school champion in 1976 and 1978, and won 20 high school tournaments overall.

That record earned her a place on the Oklahoma State University golf team. There Skinner won the Big Eight Conference championship in 1980 and 1982, led all collegiate women golfers in scoring in 1981 and 1982, and was the conference Female Athlete Of the Year in 1982. Golf Magazine named Skinner the Collegiate Player of the Year in 1982 following a senior season that included five victories.

She graduated from Oklahoma State in 1982 with a degree in public relations. In January of 1983, Skinner earned her place on the LPGA Tour by finishing third in the tour's qualifying tournament. In her rookie season of 1983, Skinner's best showing on the LPGA was a tie for third.

Skinner earned her first LPGA Tour win in 1985 the hard way: by beating Pat Bradley in a playoff. At the San Jose Classic, Skinner got the win over Bradley in sudden death on the first extra hole.

Skinner won again in 1986 and 1987, one victory each year. It was a 3-wins-in-3-years streak she repeated in 1993-95. While Skinner did not win in 1996, her consistent play over the previous two years did earn her a spot on Team USA in the 1996 Solheim Cup. Skinner played four out of a possible five matches. She partnered Beth Daniel to a foursomes victory, but lost two fourballs playing alongside Jane Geddes and Daniel in the other. In singles, though, Skinner defeated Kathryn Imrie by a 2-and-1 score.

Skinner did make it into a playoff on the LPGA Tour in 1996, but fell to Kelly Robbins in the Twelve Bridges LPGA Classic.

Skinner continued playing a full LPGA schedule through 2003, the year she was named captain of the American Junior Solheim Cup team. Perhaps using that honor as the capstone of her career, she left the tour in 2004.

In addition to her six LPGA victories, Skinner was runner-up in six other tournaments and third-place eight times. She had 71 career Top 10 finishes on the LPGA Tour. Her highest finish on the year-end LPGA Tour money list was ninth in 1995. Skinner had one other Top 10 finish (10th in 1996) and four other Top 20 finishes (14th in 1985, 11th in 1986, 18th in 1987, 12th in 1994) on the LPGA money list.

In the early 2000s, Skinner embarked on a second career in television. She worked for 13 years as a golf broadcaster for the Golf Channel and CBS Sports.

Skinner's greatest endeavor that happened mostly post-playing career, and that continues today, is her cancer-related philanthropy.

In the year 2000, Skinner founded the Val Skinner Foundation, a charity that raises funds for breast cancer research, treatment and patient/survivor support. The foundation was inspired by Skinner's LPGA Tour friend Heather Farr, who was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was only 24 years old. Farr died at age 28 in 1993. Skinner first created an annual charity tournament that raised funds for the National Breast Cancer Coalition before, in 2000, expanding her efforts with the Val Skinner Foundation.

Skinner's efforts have been recognized by many sports and cancer research organizations, and she been presented awards of recognition by the LPGA Tour and the Susan G. Komen Foundation, among others. In 2007, the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association awarded her its Winnie Palmer Award, which recognizes efforts to help others.

Skinner is a member of the Nebraska Golf Hall of Fame, Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma State University Hall of Honor.

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