LPGA founder Bettye Danoff dies at age 88

The LPGA has lost one of it's founding members, with the passing of Bettye Danoff at the age of 88 today in Texas.

Danoff, along with 13 other women who included: Babe Zaharias, Alice Bauer, Shirley Spork, Patty Berg, Louise Suggs, Helen Dettweiler, Helen Hicks, Betty Jameson, Sally Sessions, Marilynn Smith, Opal Hill and Marlene Bauer Hagge -- Founded the LPGA in 1950, and is now the oldest professional sports organization for women in the U.S.

LPGA commissioner Michael Whan had this to say on Danoff's passing, "Bettye really did make a difference, in the world of golf - and all of us are living proof."

"Because of her courage, and the vision/belief of many others that followed our Founders, we all get to participate in a fantastic business and game."

Known as "Mighty Mite" by her fellow competitors, Danoff measured out at 5-foot-2 and 100 pounds.

In her native Dallas, Texas, she would in four consecutive Dallas Women's Golf Association Championships, from the years 1945 - 1948. The Texas Women's Amateur in 1947 and 1948 and the Texas PGA Championship (women's division) in 1945 and 1946.

Famously, she defeated none other than Babe Zaharias, 1-up in the Texas Women's Open. That victory would see Zaharias's streak of 17 tournament victories in a row come to a halt in 1947.

Danoff had three daughters with her husband Dr. Clyde Walter Danoff, who died in 1961 unexpectadlly.

Their daughters, Kaye, Janie and Debbie traveled the LPGA circuit with their mother in those days.

Debbie Bell, her youngest daughter said, "I remember traveling for five consecutive tournaments with her while she played."

"She was often frustrated because she had to find friends and people to help watch us while she competed."

Playing in only LPGA events in Texas and in neighbouring Oklahoma due to her husbands death and three children, Danoff's career was limited to what it could have been.

Though her own career may have been limited, Danoff would go on to pave the way for current LPGA players to follow in her foot steps as professional female golfers.

Makig her, and the 13 other founding members of the LPGA, true pioneers in the golfing world.

Quotes courtesy of LPGA Tour

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