Retief Goosen amongst 5 new members to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame
The World Golf Hall of Fame announced on Wednesday that Retief Goosen, Peggy Kirk Bell, Billy Payne, Dennis Walters and Jan Stephenson are to be inducted into golf’s hall of fame next June. The five newest members received at least 75 percent of the vote from the selection’s committee, which includes legends of the game Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam.
Retief Goosen, who was selected from the male competitor category, twice won the U.S. Open amongst 36 worldwide victories. The South African reflected on the honor, stating: “It was a little bit of a shock. You forget maybe what you’ve done over the game through the years, and I’m glad that what I’ve done for the game has gotten me into this position.”
Jan Stephenson triumphed in the female competitor category. The Australian won the LPGA Championship, U.S. Women’s Open and du Maurier Classic amongst her 16 LPGA Tour victories, and has expressed her overriding joy at the achievement: “I haven’t slept at all. Every time I woke up I was like, Why am I so happy? And it’s because I’m in the Hall of Fame! It’s so amazing.”
Peggy Kirk Bell was amongst three that emerged from the lifetime achievement category. Bell who passed away in 2016, was a major champion, and a leading figurehead of the women’s game. The American went onto become one of golfs top instructors and was the first woman selected into Golf Magazine’s World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame.
Billy Payne, who was chairman of Augusta National from 2006 to 2017 is also to be inducted from the lifetime achievement category. Payne was the orchestrator behind admitting Augusta National’s first female members as well as establishing the successful Drive, Chip and Putt Championship. The 70-year-old was also a key figure behind golfs return to the Olympic Games in 2016.
Completing the inductees into golfs hall of fame for 2019 is Dennis Walters, who despite becoming paralyzed from the waist down at the age of 24 after an accident on a golf cart, went on to inspire many throughout the golfing world for both his amazing trick shot skills and his ability to overcome his tragic accident. Walters was until now the only USGA Bob Jones Award and PGA Lifetime Achievement Award winner not already in the Hall of Fame, and he spoke about the elation he felt when he heard the news: “I’ve had my speech researched for not getting in – the odds were so low. I didn’t think of anything to say if I’ve actually gotten in. This is the top of the mountain here. I’m still in a state of shock and disbelief, but I’m just really happy.”
The addition of the five new inductees brings the total number of members in the World Golf Hall of Fame to 160. The five inductees will be honored at Pebble Beach on Monday, the 10th of June 2019, which is the week of the 2019 U.S. Open.