Kansas Women's Golf Legend Marilynn Smith New Inductee of World Golf Hall of Fame

Nov. 2, 2006


University of Kansas All-American and co-founder of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), Marilynn Smith, was recently inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. She is the 23rd member of the LPGA to earn a spot in the Hall.

Smith, a Topeka, Kan., native, was inducted through the Lifetime Achievement category at the Hall of Fame induction that was held Monday, Oct. 30.

“At this stage of my life, this is an incredible gift,” said Smith, 77. “I’m just an ordinary gal from the Kansas prairie who has lived an extraordinary life.”

Smith won 21 tournaments while on tour with the LPGA, including the 1963 and 1964 Titleholders, one of the major women’s events at the time. Her first LPGA title was in 1954 at the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Open, and her final tournament win came in 1972 at the Pabst Ladies Classic.

Along with serving as LPGA’s president from 1958 to 1960, Smith made history when she was a reporter at the 1972 U.S. Open Championship. She became the first female television commentator to cover a men’s golf tournament.

Smith has formed many golf tournaments, including the Marilynn Smith Founders Classic – the first senior women’s professional golf tournament – and currently is the host of the Marilynn Smith Dallas EWGA Golf Championship.

In 1991, Smith was inducted into the Women’s Sports Foundation International Hall of Fame for her charitable work and recognition of her leadership in sports.

Before Smith’s founding of the LPGA, she left a legacy at Kansas during her stint. Smith won the Kansas Women’s Amateur Championship from 1946 to 1948, and was crowned champion of the 1949 National Collegiate Individual tournament.

A collegiate tournament, the Marilynn Smith Invitational, was named in her honor, and teams from around the country have competed in it since 1993.

Alongside Smith, the late Mark McCormack, IMG founder, also was inducted into the 2006 World Golf Hall of Fame through the Lifetime Achievement category. The PGA ballot included famed golfers Larry Nelson and Vijay Singh who were also inducted, and Henry Picard was selected for induction through the Veteran’s category.

Players and fans honor Marilynn Smith: http://lpga.com/content_1.aspx?pid=8658&mid=4