Reilley Rankin was a five-time winner in her three seasons competing at UGA.
Dec. 3, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- Former Georgia golfer Reilly Rankin was was recently awarded the LPGA's Heather Farr Perseverance Award.
Rankin was the most decorated freshman golfer in the history of Georgia Golf in 1998 when she was named National Freshman of the Year, first-team All-America and captured the SEC's "Triple Crown" by earning both SEC Player of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year accolades and winning medalist honors at the SEC Championships.
During the summer after her sophomore year at Georgia, Rankin’s life would change forever. She suffered from a broken back, broken sternum and a bruised heart, lungs and aorta after jumping off a cliff into a lake.
Rankin was in a body cast for three months but returned to the University of Georgia women’s golf team two years later and helped led the Bulldogs to their first-ever NCAA team national title om 2001.
Rankin would go on to join the LPGA Tour in 2004 and has won more than $1 million in career earnings.
The 34-year-old, South Carolina native brought the packed ballroom at the LPGA's Rolex Awards Celebration to tears with her poignant and powerful speech. She described the long and arduous process of returning to competitive golf after doctors told her that she might not walk again, let alone play golf. Rankin said that she visualized Forrest Gump breaking out of his braces and running as she worked to get out of her back brace. She also said that she was inspired by a quote that her mom had in the house growing up,“You only see an obstacle when you take your eyes off the goal,” Rankin said.
The Heather Farr Player award honors an LPGA player who, through her hard work, dedication and love of the game of golf, has demonstrated determination, perseverance and spirit in fulfilling her goals as a player. The LPGA established the award in 1994 to celebrate the life of Farr, an LPGA Tour player who died on Nov. 20, 1993, following a four-and-a-half-year battle with breast cancer. Past winners of this award include: Heather Farr, Shelley Hamlin, Martha Nause, Terry-Jo Myers, Lorie Kane, Nancy Scranton, Brandi Burton, Kris Tschetter, Kim Williams, Beth Daniel, Colleen Walker, Amy Read, Se Ri Pak, Leta Lindley and Sophie Gustafson.