Obit Smith Golf

FILE - In this Oct. 19, 1999, file photo, eight founders of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) pose at a celebration of the association's 50th anniversary in New York. Back row from left are Marilynn Smith, Marlene Hagge, Alice Bauer, Louise Suggs and Betty Jameson. Front row from left are Bettye Sanoff, Shirley Spork and Patty Berg. Marilynn Smith died Tuesday, April 9, 2019. She was 89.(AP Photo/Stuart Ramson, File)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — LPGA founder and pioneering golfer Marilynn Smith has died at 89.

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.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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