November 23, 2015

If top honors in the Palmetto State were limited to raw talent and potential, Columbia native Dustin Johnson would be a shoo-in. He played his college golf at Coastal Carolina University and won a handful of prestigious amateur titles. His has racked up nine PGA Tour victories and a number of excruciatingly close calls in majors. But the real decision here was between Betsy Rawls and Beth Daniel. Rawls, a Spartanburg native, posted 55 wins, including a staggering eight majors, four of them U.S. Women’s Opens. Daniel can’t touch that — though admittedly, we’re talking about very different eras. Rawls, though, didn’t blossom as a golfer until she moved to Arlington, Texas. She won the Texas Women’s Amateur in 1949 and ’50 and she attended the University of Texas. Daniel has the much stronger tie to South Carolina. The pride of Charleston, she enjoyed a spectacular amateur career. She was twice the U.S. Women’s Amateur champ, in 1975 and ’77, won the South Carolina Women’s State Amateur in 1978 and she stayed in state to attend Furman, where she was part of the national championship team in 1976. Her pro career was equally stellar, with her 33 LPGA Tour wins, including the 1990 LPGA Championship, earning her Hall of Fame honors. She competed on eight Solheim Cup teams and was a three-time Player of the Year.