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Original LPGA founder Danoff, 88, passes away

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LPGA founder Bettye Danoff passed away Thursday in Texas at the age of 88.

Known as 'Mighty Mite,” the 5-foot-2 Texan was one of the LPGA’s 13 founders in 1950.

“Bettye really did make a difference, in the world of golf – and all of us are living proof,” said LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a statement. “Because of her courage, and the vision and belief of many others that followed our founders, we all get to participate in a fantastic business and game.”

Danoff first made waves in the Lone Star state. From 1945-48, she won four consecutive Dallas Women’s Golf Association Championships, the women’s Texas PGA Championship in 1945 and '46, the Texas Women’s Amateur in 1947 and '48.

In 1947, she defeated Babe Zaharias 1 up in the Texas Women’s Open, ending Zaharias' 17-tournament winning streak.

Danoff launched her young professional career in 1949 and traveled with her three daughters, Kaye, Janie and Debbie, at different times during her career. She later became the first active LPGA player to become a grandmother.

Danoff’s life and career was altered when her husband, Dr. Clyde Walter Danoff, died suddenly in 1961. The loss limited the golfer to play only LPGA tournaments in Texas and Oklahoma, while she raised her children. She played a limited schedule into the mid-1970s while teaching golf in Dallas.