- Associated Press - Sunday, November 13, 2011

SYDNEY (AP) - The silver U.S. Women’s Open trophies. Her famous Bulls-Eye putter she used for all but one of her 82 victories. Rare video footage of her golf swing, which Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson once called the best they ever saw.

Mickey Wright kept this treasure in her Florida home for nearly 40 years, some of it on tables and shelves, some of it stashed away in closets and under the bed. She never gave it another thought.

Considered by many to be the greatest player in LPGA history, Wright was never one to get wrapped up in the past.

“I’m not a real sentimental type,” she said.

That’s why it was such a major coup for the U.S. Golf Association when Wright agreed to donate some 200 personal artifacts for a permanent display at the USGA Museum in Far Hills, N.J.

Wright will be only the fourth player _ and first woman _ to have a gallery in her name at the museum. The others are for Hogan, Bobby Jones and Arnold Palmer. It is scheduled to open in June.

“This is exciting beyond belief,” USGA executive director Mike Davis said. “Many people suggest she had one of the finest swings ever in the game. She dominated women’s golf for a long time. And she’s got a little bit of that Hogan mystique. She’s pretty quiet, and when she left the game, she really did leave the game. People didn’t have a lot of access to her.”

The 76-year-old Wright has been inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame and honored at the Memorial Tournament by Jack Nicklaus. The Mickey Wright Room at the USGA Museum is special _ not just for her, but to draw attention to women’s golf.

“I’m so excited for this room, the first for a woman,” Wright said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It’s a great honor. The best thing will be the contrast that people will be able to see between today’s golf, which is a completely different game from what was played in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. I hope they can appreciate their roots.”

Wright spent the last few months helping to pack the 34 boxes that were shipped to the USGA and arrived last Thursday.

They include that putter given to her by the late Mary Lena Faulk, and the Wilson Staff golf clubs that she used in every win since 1963 except for one. She briefly came out of retirement in 1973 and won the Colgate Dinah Shore.

Trophies range from the 1952 U.S. Girls’ Junior to two of her four U.S. Open titles. She still has a contestant’s badge from the 1954 U.S. Women’s Open when she was an amateur paired with Babe Zaharias. Most special to her are the 25 scrapbooks compiled by longtime friend Peggy Wilson of clippings, letters and her nationally syndicated column, “Lessons from Mickey Wright.”

It was a rare occasion for Wright to look back on a career in which she won 44 tournament in a span of four years in the early 1960s, and 12 majors between 1958 and 1966.

“I’m not much for living in the past,” she said. “But I enjoyed doing it, reliving it.”

Two items she kept for herself were the Bob Jones Award she received last year, the USGA’s highest honor; and a three-page letter of “fatherly advice” that longtime USGA executive director Joe Dey wrote to her when she turned pro.

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