Laura Davies, David Graham, Mark O’Meara and A.W. Tillinghast will be enshrined into the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum as the Class of 2015. The Induction Ceremony will be held on Monday, July 13, 2015 at the University of St Andrews, just blocks from the Old Course, host site of that week’s 144th Open Championship.
This is the first Class to be elected by the Hall of Fame’s Selection Commission, which debated a group of 16 Finalists. The four members of the Class of 2015 each passed the required 75 percent voting threshold – approval by at least 12 of the 16 members.
The Selection Commission was co-chaired by Hall of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Annika Sorenstam and included the members of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors and a mix of institutional and at-large seats.
“We are thrilled to welcome Laura, David, Mark and A.W. into the World Golf Hall of Fame,” said Tim Finchem, PGA TOUR Commissioner, Selection Commission member and chairman of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors. “The new selection process provided a thorough examination of the candidates by a diverse, international group and we’re delighted with the outcome. Congratulations the Class of 2015.”
With more than 70 victories worldwide and four LPGA majors, Davies is considered by many to be the most successful female British player of all time. After an accomplished amateur career, Davies made
it clear she would be a force when she won both the Rookie of the Year and the Order of Merit on the Ladies European Tour in 1985.
In 1987, while still only a 23-year-old member of the LET, Davies outdueled future Hall of Fame members Ayako Okamoto and Joanne Carner in an 18-hole playoff to win the U.S. Women’s Open at Plainfield (N.J.) Country Club. In the mid-1990s, Davies became one of the dominant players in the world, winning the 1994 and 1996 LPGA Championships at Dupont (Del.) Country Club. She added a fourth major with the 1996 du Maurier Classic.
Davies has represented Europe a record 12 times in the Solheim Cup, playing in every competition from 1990-2011. Among her numerous awards are the Golf Writers Association of America Female Player of the Year in 1994 and 1996, and the 1994 Golf Writers’ Trophy from the Association of Golf Writers. She was named a Member of the British Empire (M.B.E.) by Queen Elizabeth II in 1988 and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.) in 2000.
“I’d like to thank the Selection Sub-Committee and the Selection Commission for bringing me into the Class of 2015; it is a wonderful honor,” Davies said. “I am especially looking forward to the Induction Ceremony at St Andrews in 2015. It really will be a special event.”
Among his more than 20 victories worldwide, Graham won the 1979 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills Country Club and the ’81 U.S. Open at Merion. Graham’s final-round 67 at Merion is considered one of the best final rounds in major championship history; it even merited a post-round phone call from Ben Hogan.
While Graham’s two biggest wins were on U.S. soil, the Australian is truly an international competitor, joining Hale Irwin, Bernhard Langer and Gary Player as the only players to win events on six different continents. He represented Australia in three Dunhill Cups and two World Cups, winning the 1970 World Cup with Bruce Devlin. He was also the International Team captain in the first Presidents Cup competition in 1994.
“Clearly, to be accepted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as player is the icing on the cake on what has been a nice career,” Graham said. “It is a great honor for me, my wife, my kids and all of my friends.”
Golf fans will remember 1998 as the year Mark O’Meara established himself as one of the game’s greats, when he captured both the Masters and Open Championship. That season, when he birdied the final two holes at Augusta National to defeat Fred Couples and David Duval by one shot, then outlasted Brian Watts in a four-hole playoff to win at Royal Birkdale, made him, at age 41, the oldest player ever to win two majors in one year. It was no surprise when he was named the 1998 PGA TOUR Player of the Year.
His myriad career highlights go beyond those two victories, starting in 1979 when he won the U.S. Amateur at Canterbury Golf Club in Cleveland. O’Meara has more than 20 victories worldwide, and has represented the United States in five Ryder Cups and two Presidents Cups.
“Thanks go out to my family and friends on this incredible day,” O’Meara said. “To have the great honor of being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame is a dream come true.”
Born in 1874, Albert Warren (A.W.) Tillinghast took golf lessons from Old Tom Morris, was an admirer of St Andrews, and used that knowledge to become a true pioneer of American golf. He was a prolific architect, with more than 100 U.S. courses to his credit. He was also an original member of the PGA of America and authored a slew of books about the game.
Several of Tillinghast’s designs are still considered among the world’s best and used frequently for golf’s major championships. Bethpage State Park, Winged Foot, Baltusrol Golf Club, San Francisco Golf Club, Quaker Ridge and Somerset Hills are all Tillinghast designs.
Davies, Graham, O’Meara and Tillinghast will be inducted at the University of St Andrews, in Younger Hall. It will be the first international venue for the Induction Ceremony.
“Laura, David, Mark and A.W. will be outstanding additions to the Hall of Fame family,” said Jack Peter, Chief Operating Officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame. “This announcement is the culmination of a year of exciting changes that we believe will continue to raise the long-term profile of the Induction Ceremony and the institution. We look forward to celebrating the Class of 2015 and extend our hearty congratulations.”
World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum www.WorldGolfHallofFame.org
In each month and year listed below every article that has ever appeared in golfbusinessnews is reproduced in reverse date order.