COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Mariam Bell offered a simple challenge to her daughter, the optimistic, driven Judy.
"You want to do something bad enough, you can do it," Mariam said.
Mariam spoke those words more than six decades ago, but Judy clearly remembers her mother's encouragement. She made sure her mother's words come true.
As the Women's U.S. Open opened Thursday at The Broadmoor, it's the perfect time to consider the accomplishments of Mariam's daughter, a woman who did virtually everything she set out to do in the golf world.
Judy Bell, 74, is thrilled to watch another Open and especially pleased all the action is only a few miles from her home.
"I won't be able to see every shot, but I'll be there every minute," she said. "The Open is the greatest championship in this country and maybe in this world for women.
"These players are the best that there is, and the fire is there and it's fun to see that."
She knows all about fire. Bell, who has lived in Colorado Springs since 1962, used her blazing desire to take a grand, entertaining ride.
She served as captain for two Curtis Cup teams, leading Americans in competition against the world's best amateurs.
She shot a 67 at the 1964 U.S. Open at the San Diego Country Club, including a staggering 31 on the front nine.
Alas, she followed this magic round with an 83. "Nobody ever mentions that," Bell said with a sigh. Correction: Nobody but the humble woman who shot it.
In 1987, she became the first woman to serve on the U.S. Golf Association's 15-member executive committee, which was only 109 years old at the time. She was not done climbing. In 1996, she became the first woman to lead the USGA as president.
She accomplished all this in her friendly, unpretentious style.
The word to describe Bell is "nice." That's all. Just nice. If you need help, she's there. She doesn't make a big fuss about virtue; she quietly lives it.
In the mid-1990s, Bell was visiting Paris for tournament competition with a shy, unknown golfer with a distinctive first name. Paris, of course, is known for its magnificent cuisine. But Tiger Woods was homesick for California and required a familiar, safe taste. He needed an adult to help him locate a McDonald's.
And that's what Bell did. She even sat beside Tiger three straight nights, eating fries in France while a jubilant golfer devoured Big Macs. This was a sacrifice, but Judy didn't mind.
"Tiger was just a kid," she said. "And he was a good kid."
This generous spirit comes to her naturally.
She grew up in Wichita, Kan. Her father ran Carl Bell's Market on 13th Street, where Judy ran the cash register on most afternoons. Everyone in the family was expected to labor to ensure the success of the family's wholesale meat market.
Summers were an escape. The Bells traveled to the family cabin in Cascade, just west of Manitou Springs, and Judy and Mariam played golf at Patty Jewett and The Broadmoor.
She understands the challenge ahead this week for defending champ Paula Creamer and her competitors. Bell has played at The Broadmoor for more than 60 years and understands the perils as well as anyone.
"They're going to have some interesting times with those greens, I think," she said with a slightly sinister laugh.
She long ago quit picturing herself out there on the course. Yes, she enjoyed her share of sensational rounds.
But that was a long time ago.
"I've had a lot of bad rounds since the good ones and it's pretty easy to remember those bad ones," she said.
Don't get her wrong. One reason she always adored golf is the constant, grinding challenge. She had her good days on the course.
All in all, she's satisfied as she looks back on her golf life.
Mariam told her daughter she could do anything.
Judy made the right choice. She believed her mother.