LPGA Co-Founder Marilynn Smith Selected to Enter World Golf Hall of Fame
June 7, 2006
Havre de Grace, Md. – LPGA pioneer Marilynn Smith will become a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame on October 30 as part of the Class of 2006. She was selected for induction through the Lifetime Achievement category by the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors Selection Committee. A former KU great, Smith won the 1949 National Collegiate individual title as a Jayhawk.
“I was surprised, humbled, overwhelmed and absolutely thrilled to get the call that I had been selected to receive this great honor from the World Golf Hall of Fame,” Smith said. “This is an incredible gift particularly at this stage of my life.”
Smith was one of the original 13 founders of the LPGA in 1950. Like many of the founders, Smith served as the LPGA President (1958-60), and during her term was instrumental in co-founding the teaching division, now known as the LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals. Her career on the course included 21 official victories, including the 1963 and 1964 Titleholders Championships, major tournaments at the time.
“Marilynn is a most deserved addition to the Hall of Fame,” said Jack Peter, Sr. Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “As one of the sport’s pioneers, her tireless efforts to introduce and promote the game of golf to women in the U.S. and around the world has earned her this mark of distinction.”
“We are thrilled that Marilynn will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame,” said LPGA Commissioner Carolyn F. Bivens. “Marilynn has given her heart, soul and time to this game for decades. As a founder of the LPGA in 1950 to her tournament wins, regular golf clinics and endless, passionate promotion of the game to a global audience, Marilynn’s support of and impact on golf is remarkable. She is so deserving of this honor and we salute her on this lifetime achievement to the world of golf.”
Smith, who was recognized during the LPGA’s 50th Anniversary in 2000 as one of the top-50 players and teachers, played tournament golf in five consecutive decades (40s to 80s). She earned her first Tour victory at the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Open in 1954. She was selected as the Tour’s Most Improved Player in 1963 and in 1971 became the first player in LPGA history to record a double eagle.
Smith organized the Marilynn Smith Founders Classic, which was the first senior women’s professional golf tournament. Smith also found time to become the first female television commentator at a men’s golf tournament, reporting on the U.S. Open and the Colonial in 1973.
Nicknamed “Miss Personality,” Smith is known as one of golf’s greatest ambassadors. She is an experienced traveler, conducting more than 4,000 clinics worldwide since 1949, instructing more than 250,000 golfers during that time. She has participated and coordinated numerous charity tournaments over the years and continues to be involved in the Marilynn Smith EWGA Golf Classic in Dallas that benefits the Marilynn Smith Scholarship and LPGA-USGA Girl’s Golf.
Hall of Fame members Amy Alcott, Beth Daniel, Betsy King and Carol Mann joined Smith today for the announcement at the McDonald’s LPGA Championship in Havre de Grace, Md.
Other Hall of Fame members who have entered through the Lifetime Achievement category, which was instituted in 2000, are: Judy Bell, Deane Beman, Sir Michael Bonallack, Neil Coles, Bernard Darwin, Hisako “Chako” Higuchi, John Jacobs, Alister MacKenzie, Harvey Penick, Charlie Sifford and Karsten Solheim.
Smith will join fellow inductees Larry Nelson and Vijay Singh, elected on the PGA TOUR ballot, and Henry Picard, posthumously selected through the Veteran’s category, for the 2006 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Oct. 30 at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla. One final 2006 inductee will be announced at The Open Championship at Hoylake on July 19. For more information about the Class of 2006 or the Hall of Fame, call 904-940-4123 or visit www.wgv.com.