Betty Dodd had made her debut on the Ladies' Professional Golf tour in 1952. One of Babe's longtime friends, Bertha Bowen, had asked Babe to look out for Betty. Mrs. Bowen says: "When they met they liked one another right away. Betty was from a good family—her father was a general—and she had many advantages Babe did not have. But Betty would go around looking just awful. People didn't know if she was a girl or a boy. I remember coming home one day and Babe was giving Betty a permanent. She kept screaming at her, 'Sit still! Years ago Bertha made a lady out of me and I'm gonna make a lady out of you!' "
Betty Dodd never did learn to primp and powder herself. She was a natural athlete who had no interest in looking feminine. She was a fine guitar player with a good voice that blended perfectly with Babe's wailing harmonica. Soon after they met, the women began rooming together and their attachment grew in intensity. Betty says, "When our relationship first started I'd be with her for two or three tournaments, then she'd go back to Tampa. George thought she should be there with him. Well, no one stopped him from being on the tour, but he blamed me if she didn't want to go home. I had such admiration for this fabulous person. She was the most famous person in the world and I was her prot�g�. She was very unpredictable, though. At times she'd act like she didn't know me. I never wanted to be away from her even when she was dying of cancer. I loved her. I would have done anything for her." The affection between the two women became stronger as Babe drew near death.
Yet Babe never totally rejected George. Indeed, on the day in 1953 when she learned she had cancer, the depth of Babe's feeling toward her husband was plain. "She came back from the doctor's office and she was ghastly white," Bertha Bowen says. "Her lips were a thin line. She walked into their bedroom and threw a big brown pocketbook on a chair and said, 'B.B. I've got it, the worst kind. I'm not worried about myself, I'm only worried about George.' "