Australian golf great Jan Stephenson has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The 71-year-old will begin treatment with chemotherapy and radiation in the next two weeks.
“It means so much to me for all my friends and family to lend so much support,” Stephenson said in a statement.
“I have had some negative challenges in my career and managed to survive. This is just another tough hole that is ‘uphill and against the wind. See you on my next downhill and downwind hole’!”
Stephenson is in the top echelon of Australia’s greatest golfers, having won three major championships and was an inductee to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2019.
Stephenson’s Crossroads Foundation – which supports disabled military veterans and first responders — said the cancer was stage 3.
Stephenson won 16 times on the LPGA Tour, with her first victory coming in 1976. She won the Australian Open in 1977.
Although she has lived in the US for much of her life, Stephenson remains fully connected with Australian Golf, and was co-host of the current TPS Hunter Valley event at Cypress Lakes with Peter O’Malley.
Just last year, in recognition of her contribution to the sport in New South Wales, the board of Golf NSW named the Women’s NSW Open championship trophy in her honour.
Golf NSW CEO Stuart Fraser said the organisation was shocked by the news, but wished Jan a speedy recovery.
“It’s always sobering news to hear of a diagnosis like this in someone as revered as Jan is; and by so many golfers across the state and around the world.
“We wish her the best in this battle and hope she pulls through in what may be her toughest test.”
WPGA Tour Australasia Chief Executive Officer Karen Lunn said the news was a shock to people in the golf industry.
“We love Jan,” said Lunn. “I just know that she’ll face it head-on, and she’ll be trying to beat it like she’s beaten everything else in her life. I’m sure that I speak for everyone in the industry and the golf world in wishing her a speedy recovery.”