Sheehan outperformed her previous year in 1982, winning two Tour events. In 1983, she won four titles, including the LPGA Championship, and was voted Player of the Year.
"My mom said, if you're going to go compete, you might as well win. (My parents) taught me never to give up, and those are the traits that have carried me throughout my entire life," Patty said.
She replicated the feat the following year, winning four more LPGA Tour events, the LPGA Championship, and setting the Tour's lowest scoring average of 71.40.
Sheehan's career-best 70.62 average and most wins — five in total – came in 1990. Patty became only the second woman in history to walk away, earning $700,000 that season.
That year was important to her because of the personal and financial trauma she has experienced the year before.
"Rebecca and I went through the earthquake of '89 in San Francisco. We were actually at the World Series Baseball game. And we got home and saw all the damage to the house, and we eventually moved to Reno again. During that time, we closed out the bank accounts and learned that we only had $2,000," Sheehan said.
Sheehan was able to practice through the mild Reno winter three hours a day to prepare for the following season. "I didn't have any money, but because I was able to get out and practice, I was pretty successful the next year. We were able to pay for the damage of the house, get it put back together and buy a new house in Reno because I won over $700,000 at the end of 1990."
Despite a fantastic year, one loss still stings. Sheehan had a nine-shot lead in the U.S. Women’s Open after 36 holes. Her 12-under-par score at that time was the lowest of any golfer, man or woman, the U.S. Open or U.S. Women’s Open. But she couldn’t hold on. Betsy King captured that championship.
"I was leading by about 12 shots at one point and ended up losing. I got hypoglycemic on Sunday. We had to play 36 holes, and I was just sick as a dog," Patty said.
Sheehan said the heat of that tournament in '90 was when she stopped wearing her infamous golf trousers.
"I tried to wear different garments than everybody else, and at the time, I started wearing knickers when head sports decided they were going to be making knickers and Payne Stewart was wearing them, and they wanted a female to wear them. I somehow got hooked until the 1990 U.S. Open when I couldn't handle the heat anymore," Patty said.
Patty returned to win the U.S. Women's Open at Oakmont in 1992, and she said it was her proudest achievement. Sheehan said, "After my huge collapse in the ‘90 open, I came back and persevered. I had to go into an 18-hole playoff on Monday, and it was hard. It was against my college teammate, Juli Inkster, and it was a tough emotional battle."
On the 18th hole, Patty hit it far-right. The ball landed in the rough. The USGA official ruled that her nearest point of relief was the fairway. Patty said, "I was in the thick, wet rough, and I probably wouldn't have been able to get my ball to the green. But since I had a shot from the fairway, I could hit onto the green, and I hit it about 18 feet away from the hole. And I made another birdie to go into a playoff with Juli. To this day, she's still not happy with that ruling."
At the end of her professional career, she won two more major titles. The first was in 1994 at the U.S. Women's Open and her final victory was in 1996 at the Chevron Championship.