USA Curtis Cup Golfer Stephanie Sparks Dead At 50 (2024)

USA Curtis Cup Golfer Stephanie Sparks Dead At 50 (1)

Stephanie Sparks, a former golfer and on-air personality, has sadly died at the age of 50.

News of her passing recently broke with reports noting the media personality took her final breath last week on April 13. The cause of her death remains a mystery, but tributes are slowly pouring in for the former athlete.

Stephanie Sparks Passes Away In Florida

Stephanie Sparks dead at 50: Former Golf Channel host, USA Curtis Cup and LPGA player passes away

— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) April 20, 2024

Sparks was an All-American college golfer who enjoyed an incredible amateur career before going pro. She competed in the LPGA Tour and the USA Curtis Cup before focusing solely on broadcasting, where she gained new attention.

The deceased hosted several seasons of Golf Channel's "Big Break" alongside other shows like "Golf with Style" and "Playing Lessons with the Pros." When she wasn't giving her best on air, she reported at professional golf events.

Tom Abbott, Sparks' co-host for seven years on the "Big Break," reflected on her passion for broadcasting. He, per Daily Mail,claimed she used her past as a pro golfer to connect with her audience, saying:

"She had been a professional golfer herself, so she knew what it was like for the contestants, and she wanted them to succeed. She kind of rode their emotions in a way when we were doing the show."

Tributes Are Pouring In For Sparks

I’ll forever be grateful for the friendships I made in junior golf.

Last week, we lost one of our best @AJGAGolf mates.

God bless you, Sparky… and thanks for being you. ❤️?

— Lisa Cornwell (@LisaMCornwell) April 20, 2024

Fellow broadcaster Lisa Cornwell echoed similar sentiments about Sparks in her tribute on X, writing:

"I'll forever be grateful for the friendships I made in junior golf. Last week, we lost one of our best @AJGAGolf mates. God bless you, Sparky… and thanks for being you."

Another touching homage came via the late golfer's obituary,which encouraged people to plant a tree in her honor. The website revealed her full name as "Mary Stephanie Sparks" alongside details about her life, career, and funeral arrangements.

The media personality was born in Wheeling, WV, to Robert and Janie Sparks and died in Orlando, Florida.

She is survived by her parents, sister Susan (Scott) Nolte, and their children — Zach (Alexandria) Nolte, Annie Fox, Paige Nolte, Lauren Fox, Lucas Nolte, and Lauren Nolte.

The family list also includes "many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends that were family up and down the East Coast." Sparks' loved ones opted for a private funeral service and will say their final farewells in a ceremony at the Kepner Funeral Home in Elm Grove.

Sparks Professional Career Was' Plagued With Health Injuries'

I’m shocked and saddened by the death of Stephanie Sparks. Many of you will remember Steph as the host of #BigBreak - we worked together on 7 seasons. Lots of fond memories of those times, Steph was a crucial part of the Big Break success story. My thoughts go out to her family.

— Tom Abbott (@TomAbbottGC) April 20, 2024

According to the former athlete's obituary, her professional career wasn't a smooth journey. Sparks graduated from Wheeling Park High School and Duke University, where she was an All-American golfer.

However, her career was "plagued by health injuries" that eventually saw her focusing on the broadcasting world. But before these physical issues stopped her from being a golfer, her obituary noted that she had achieved incredible achievements.

"Although plagued with health injuries, she enjoyed an accomplished amateur career," the message read. "She enjoyed several years playing professionally on the LPGA development Future's Tour and played for one year on the LPGA tour."

The obituary continued: "Stephanie went on to work for the Golf Channel and was most memorable as the host for the Golf with Style series as well as several Big Break reality seasons. This allowed her to remain involved in the sport that she loved."

The Late Golfer Was An Advocate For Hospice Care

Stephanie Sparks dead at 50: Former Golf Channel host passed away.

when you're getting paid millions of dollars you do what you're told but you Also INFLUENCE others to do the same. good Riddance!

— ZeroProof (@ForesmanBi89783) April 20, 2024

Aside from her passion for golf and broadcasting, Sparks advocated hospice care. Her obituary noted that she spent the last several years of her life supporting and fighting for this cause.

Additionally, the former athlete reportedly supported Libby's Legacy Breast Cancer Foundation and the Barber Fund in Orlando before her death. Because of her love for hospice care, Sparks' obituary encouraged people to follow in her footsteps.

Those who wish to honor Sparks' memory could drop flowers and donations in her name to Valley Hospice. If anyone still wondered how remarkable the former golfer was as a person, her obituary stressed:

"Stephanie graced our world with her presence and leaves behind cherished memories of laughter, kindness, and warmth."

A Back Surgery Forced Sparks To Retire

Terrible news to hear of Stephanie Sparks death. We spent a lot of time together working @LPGA & @KornFerryTour events. She was a hard worker, talented, spirited, had a great laugh & sense of humor combined with a loving, caring nature. I will always remember her fondly. RIP?

— Kay co*ckerill (@Kayco*ckerill) April 20, 2024

As stated, Sparks' golf career was plagued by injuries that started early into her journey to become a professional athlete.From 1992 to 1994, she played golf at Duke University but was forced to quit the team over a wrist injury.

Despite this hiccup, the late golfer earned success as an amateur golfer and won the 1993 Women's Western Amateur, a Women's Eastern Amateur, a West Virginia State Amateur, and the 1992 North and South Women's Amateur at Pinehurst.

Following her graduation in 1996, Sparks joined the Futures Tour, the LPGA's developmental tour, and earned her LPGA card in a playoff at Q-School.

Unfortunately, 2000 was her only season as an LPGA player, as she retired from golf at the end of the season due to back surgery.

USA Curtis Cup Golfer Stephanie Sparks Dead At 50 (2024)
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