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Jones, Rosie (b. 1959)  
 
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Golfer Rosie Jones enjoyed great success both as an amateur and a professional. Since her retirement from the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour, she has become a commentator for the Golf Channel cable network.

Rosie Jones took an interest in sports from a young age. Born November 13, 1959 in Santa Ana, California, she grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she played basketball and softball and also competed in track. She credits her father with introducing her to golf. He fixed up a broken club for her to play with when she was about eleven, and the die was cast.

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Tom Nielson, her first professional instructor, to whom she came as a twelve-year-old, was not sanguine about her chances for success in the sport. "She didn't actually have a lot of natural ability," he recalled years later. "It was all done through hard work. Golf is a game of hard work."

Jones was willing to make the effort, and it paid off: she won the state junior championship from 1974 to 1976.

Since the high school that Jones attended had no girls' golf team, she initially played on the boys' squad. However, some of the ramifications of Title IX of the federal Education Amendments of 1972, which required equal participation and funding for both men and women in all educational programs, including athletics, finally kicked in during her senior year. As a consequence of Title IX Cibola High School needed a girls' team in order to make its female athletes eligible to participate in the state tournament. Jones helped organize a girls' golf team and led them to qualify for the New Mexico competition.

When a coach from Ohio State University called Nielson to inquire about potential recruits, he touted Jones. She was awarded a golf scholarship and had a highly successful college career both academically and athletically. She earned a degree in education in 1981, while picking up All-American honors in sports along the way.

By the time that she graduated, Jones recognized that her future lay in professional golf. She qualified to participate in LPGA events in July 1982 and won her first tournament in 1987.

"The win in '87 gave me confidence. It was kind of a barrier that I broke," she stated in 2003. Her career continued to build from there.

Jones notched a total of thirteen victories on the LPGA tour from 1987 to 2003. She never managed to win a major but was runner-up four times, along with achieving 26 top-ten results in the most important events.

Of being "the best player never to win a major," Jones stated in 2005, "It's never felt like a huge void for me. The big one has eluded me, but that's not how I define my career."

That career was one that earned her both the admiration of fans and recognition and respect from fellow golfers. She was chosen to represent the United States on the Solheim Cup team seven times, beginning in 1990. A high point of her participation in the prestigious international tournament came in 2002, when she made the putt that secured the victory for the U.S. team.

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Rosie Jones. Photograph provided by RosieJones.com.
  
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