Bettye Danoff, who co-founded the LPGA Tour, died at the age of 88 last week.
"It's something that we knew would happen someday, but we didn't expect — I mean, nobody expects it," said Debbie Danoff Bell, her youngest daughter.
Surrounded by her family members, Danoff died on Thursday evening. Her dying wish was to have her original clubs with her at her funeral. Bell said her mother was also being buried with her favorite putter.
Growing up in Oak Cliff, Texas, Danoff learned golf from an early age. Her parents owned a driving range and a nine-hole golf course in Dallas.
Danoff, who also co-founded the Ladies' Professional Golf Association Tour with 12 other women, was the first grandmother to play the tour.
"She didn't know she was going to be this recognized," Bell said. "She really didn't. She said, 'I was just there to play golf.'"
At 5-foot-2 and barely 100 pounds, Danoff earned the nickname "Mighty Mite" and was the first grandmother to play the tour. Before the formation of the LPGA Tour, she beat Babe Zaharias 1-up as an amateur in the final of the 1947 Texas Women's Open to end Zaharias' 17-tournament winning streak.
Danoff won four straight Dallas Women's Golf Association Championships from 1945-48, the women's division of the Texas PGA in 1945 and 1946 and the Texas Women's Amateur in 1947 and 1948. Winless on the LPGA Tour, she also played exhibitions as an amateur with PGA Tour star Byron Nelson in the late 1940s.
"Bettye really did make a difference, in the world of golf — and all of us are living proof," LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said. "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."