DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — LPGA founder and pioneering golfer Marilynn Smith has died at 89.
From PGA of America President Suzy Whaley, PGA/LPGA:
“The PGA of America shares the sadness throughout the golf world at the passing of LPGA legend Marilynn Smith, a gentle force for good in our sport. Marilynn’s pioneering spirit broke down barriers for women professionals in playing opportunities, marketing and broadcasting. Her vision to guide the LPGA Teaching Division opened doors for generations of aspiring professionals. We mourn her passing and take strength from a woman who taught us that dreaming big is the path to unlimited possibilities.”
The LPGA Tour said she died Tuesday in Goodyear, Arizona, surrounded by family and friends. Smith last was seen in public March 24 at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, greeting players as they walked off the 18th green.
Smith was one of the 13 founders of the LPGA Tour. Her 21 victories, two majors and endless support of her tour led to her induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Commissioner Mike Whan said on the tour's website that Smith was his "North Star and most importantly my friend."
Smith was president of the LPGA from 1958 to 1960. In 1973, she became the first woman to work a PGA Tour event as a TV broadcaster.
The LPGA Tour began in 1950. The only surviving founders are now Shirley Spork and Marlene Bauer Hagge.
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