Dinah Shore was thinking serve-and-volley, not pitch-and-putt when she was asked to host a tournament in 1971.
"I'd love to," the entertainer said when asked by David Foster, then president of Colgate Palmolive, about the venture.
"It's tennis, of course?" she asked, referring to her then-favorite sport.
"No, it's golf," Foster said.
"She was a very good sport about it," he recalled Thursday. "She became a pretty good golfer."
Shore, who died Thursday in Beverly Hills, Calif., at age 76, became a major figure in women's golf through the tournament that carries her name. It began in 1972 and is now one of four major championship events on the LPGA tour.
"We are shocked right now," said Jim Webb, LPGA deputy commissioner. "We are deeply saddened by Dinah's passing. She's been our biggest supporter and willing to do anything to help our association. She is an honorary member of our association."
"This woman did more for women's golf than anyone in the history of the sport," said Mike Manuche, executive director of the Nabisco Dinah Shore tournament. "She was only a fair golfer, but she loved golf so much.
"She was a good tennis player, but started to play golf and fell in love with it. She became a golf addict," Manuche said.
The tournament was the Colgate Dinah Shore from 1972 through 1981, then became the Nabisco Dinah Shore. It will be played March 24-27 at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
"The golf tournament is the highlight of my year," Shore said in a 1989 interview. "I live it."
As for the game of golf, she said, "It's like starting that first cigarette. It's a faithless love, but you hit four good shots and you've started your day right."
When Amy Alcott won the Dinah Shore in 1991, Shore helped her celebrate by jumping into a pond.
Because of the tournament's prominence, many women considered it one of the sport's premier events.
"We wanted to get it on national television," recalled Foster, who said the purse for the first tournament was $110,000 and that previous high purse for women had been $50,000. The purse this year will be $700,000.
Shore was doing a show called "Dinah's Place" on NBC when she was approached about the golf tournament. Her place in show business history is secure. So is her place in women's golf.