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Marilynn Smith (1929–2019), LPGA founder

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The pro golfer was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Marilynn Smith was one of the 13 founders of the LPGA in 1950, the oldest women’s professional sports organization in the world. As a professional golfer, she won two majors and 21 tournaments. Smith was the President of the LPGA from 1958 until 1960 and she was the first woman to broadcast a PGA tour event. She created the Marilynn Smith LPGA Charity Pro-AM which raises money to assist female golfers with college expenses.  

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Died: Tuesday, April 9, 2019 (Who else died on April 9?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 89, according to a press release from the LPGA.


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On her love of golf: "I'm just an ordinary girl from the Kansas prairie who has lived an extraordinary life, and golf has made it possible for me to travel to all 50 states, 36 countries, to meet five presidents. And I've been privileged to play golf with my two idols, Stan Musial and Ben Hogan." —Smith said when was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

What they said about her: “Marilynn has always been a giver. She worked so diligently as president of the LPGA, out selling the tour to sponsors. When we traveled, we drove and we’d pull into a gas station and Marilynn would start chatting up a young person there and she’d say, ‘You need new shoes,’ and she’d end up giving away more money than we paid for the gas.” —Fellow LPGA founder Shirley Spork

"Marilynn was my Founder, my North Star and most importantly my friend. In her life, she broke barriers, shattered stereotypes and made others 'believe.' I'll miss her weekly handwritten cards, her daily calls to my office and her love for every LPGA teacher, tour player, and staff member. Quite simply, Marilynn left this world better than she found it — and set a standard that will guide us forever." —LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan

Full obituary: Washington Post

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