LPGA player Erica Blasberg, 25, dies

Police and an agent for 25-year-old Erica Blasberg say the LPGA Tour golfer has died.

Henderson, Nev., police spokesman Keith Paul said Monday that authorities were investigating Blasberg’s Sunday death. It was not immediately clear whether foul play was involved.

Blasberg’s agent, Chase Callahan, confirmed her death but declined to provide details because of the investigation.

A message left with the coroner’s office was not immediately returned.

In her only start this season, Blasberg tied for 44th two weeks ago at the Tres Marias Championship in Morelia, Mexico, after having Monday qualified.

Greg Allen, the former coach at the University of Arizona, remembers a fiery competitor whom the Wildcats affectionately called “Skip.” When Blasberg showed up to her first workout as a freshman in 2002, the trainer asked the team to warm up by skipping around the track. Blasberg didn’t know how to skip.

“Every kid in America knows how to skip,” Allen said, laughing. “We stuck that name on her.”

Blasberg was a decorated collegian, winning six tournaments in two years. She was named Golfweek’s 2003 Player of the Year after finishing the season No. 1 in the rankings. She also was ’03 NGCA Freshman of the Year, Pac-10 Player of the Year and competed on the victorious 2004 Curtis Cup team.

Blasberg was a solid ball-striker with a repeatable swing learned from her father, Mel. Allen remembers one time in particular when Blasberg couldn’t wait to compete. During her freshman year, Mel was staying at a hotel 10 minutes away from Blasberg’s dorm. She stayed with her father that night, got up early in the morning and headed to the course. It wasn’t until she couldn’t get inside the gate that Blasberg realized it was 2 a.m.

“That was classic Skip,” Allen said. “She couldn’t wait to get to the golf course for breakfast to tell us what she had done.”

Blasberg shot 68 that day to the win the Arizona Wildcat Invitational.

The California native turned professional in June 2004, posting four top-10s in eight starts on the Duramed Futures Tour, including a victory at the Lacona Savings Bank Futures Golf Classic. She qualified for the LPGA later that fall.

Blasberg struggled on the LPGA, never finishing higher than 94th on the money list. Her career-low 64 on the LPGA came at the Welch’s/Fry’s Championship, back when she competed as an amateur on a sponsor exemption. Blasberg tended to keep to herself on tour, with Allen noting that it as hard for anyone to “get close to Skip.”

While Blasberg never made the professional splash she hoped for, she did enjoy her stint as the face of Puma Golf, appearing in a television commercial. She also represented Cleveland Golf and Casio.

“She was part of our family for two years,” Allen said. “I can’t believe she’s gone.”

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Baldry and The Associated Press contributed to this report.