Jo Ann Washam Biography
Claim to Fame: American LPGA golfer
DOB: May 24, 1950
Diabetes Type: Unknown
Born in Auburn, Washington in 1950, Jo Ann Washam is an American professional golfer who played on the LPGA Tour. At thirteen, she won the Auburn Golf Course club championship and went onto play college golf at Washington State University. Washam attended college on an Evans Caddie Scholarship, a scholarship designed to help golf caddies raise money to attend college, and was the first woman from the Pacific Northwest to do so.
In 1967, Washam won the PNGA Junior Girls' Amateur, allowing her to compete in the PNGA Women's Amateur competitions. In 1970, Washam entered the Women's Amateur and emerged victorious. She returned to win again the following year. With her confidence in place, Washam began playing on the LPGA Tour in 1973. The talented young athlete would enjoy a career in the LPGA that would last from 1973-1989 and result in three individual tour titles and two team titles, playing with long-time friends Nancy Lopez and Chi Chi Rodriguez.
In 1982, Washam was called back to her alma mater to receive an athletic distinction. Proud of the success of one of their student-athletes, Washington State University inducted Washam into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame for golf and basketball, having achieved greatness by performing at the national championship level in both sports. Though the honor was not bestowed upon her by an organization in association with the LPGA, it confirmed her career as an athlete and encouraged her to keep striving toward her goals.
In 1989, Washam retired and moved to DuPont, Washington. Exhausted by the stress of the LPGA and concerned with complications from pre-existing health problems, the athlete believed her dedication to golf was in jeopardy. Instead of fading away, she felt it best to retire while still satisfied with her accomplishments. Not content to surrender her calling completely, the former player took up a position working as a teaching professional at the Home Course in DuPont.
In 2002, Washam's health hit a new low. Struggling with diabetes, she also underwent six bypass surgeries to clear blockages in three coronary arteries. Complaining of neck pain and nerve damage, the athlete also underwent surgery to remove two vertebrae and three discs in her neck. As a person with diabetes and heart issues, Washam has learned to care for her body and watch for any pain that may develop.
Still an active teacher and golfer, Washam appeared at the Pacific Northwest Golf Association Hall of Fame induction ceremony held in her honor in April 2011, looking healthy and ready to take the course. Despite all of the former golfer's health concerns, she remains optimistic and willing to share her talent with anyone interested.
1-Pacific Northwest Golf Association. Jo Ann Washam. http://www.thepnga.org/layout9.asp?id=521&page=37168&sid=3640&viewmode=new (Accessed 7/31/12.)
2-Washington State Cougars Official Athletic Site. Washam Gone From LPGA, But Not Forgotten. http://www.wsucougars.com/genrel/072202aaa.html (Accessed 7/31/12.)
3-Washington State Magazine. Jo Ann Washam to be inducted into the PNW Golf Association Hall of Fame. http://wsm.wsu.edu/mystory/index.php/2011/04/jo-ann-washam-to-be-inducted-into-pnw-golf-association-hall-of-fame/ (Accessed 7/31/12.)
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