Spring in is full swing! And, with the inception of the season, the World Golf Hall of Fame begins unveiling its new Class of Inductees. With the annual ballot and election processes having officially concluded at The Masters in April, the Hall is on its way to building a new family of members working toward their enshrinement in the fall.
In late April at Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf in Savannah, Ga., the Hall of Fame made its first official announcement for the 2009 Induction. With 61% percent of the votes on the returned PGA TOUR Ballots, Lanny Wadkins, a 21-time PGA TOUR winner, was elected. He will become a member at the official Induction Ceremony November 2 and will be joined by a group of distinguished individuals to be announced later in the spring and early summer.
“I am honored and pleased to be a part of such a prestigious group,” said Wadkins. “I never expected to wind up in the Hall of Fame when I started playing golf. I played for the love of the game and to compete to win. This honor is the culmination of a lot of fun, which I had throughout my career. I am extremely pleased to share this honor with my family and friends who supported me for so long. For many, I know this means as much to them as it does to me, and I appreciate all of their support.”
Wadkins was named Rookie of the Year in 1972 by Golf Digest and is among the top 30 on the all-time PGA TOUR victory list. He also was voted PGA Player of the Year in 1985, a year he won three TOUR titles. Beginning in 1977, he played on the U.S. Ryder Cup Team eight times (a record he shares with Raymond Floyd and Billy Casper) and his 20-11-3 record is among the strongest in the history of the event. He served as U.S. Ryder Cup Team Captain in 1995.
At his press conference April 23, Wadkins expressed his feelings on being elected to the Hall: “Even starting on Tour, I don’t think I ever envisioned this day happening. I came out playing not so much trying to make money, but just to win golf tournaments and do what I really enjoy doing – and that’s playing golf,” he said. “This is the culmination of all of that for me.”
A native of Richmond, Va., Wadkins attended Wake Forest University on a golf scholarship and was named Collegiate All-American in 1970 and 1971. He earned numerous amateur titles before turning professional, most notably the 1970 United States Amateur Championship. He was a member of the U.S. Walker Cup teams in 1969 and 1971 and also claimed international wins in Australia, Canada, Japan and Colombia, and unofficial events in the United States, including 1980 PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
A current player on the Champions Tour, Wadkins was victorious in his first start, the 2000 ACE Group Classic, while splitting time between competition and the CBS broadcast booth, where he was lead analyst for the network’s golf telecasts from 2002 through 2006.
“Lanny Wadkins has enjoyed tremendous success at every turn of his career, from his days as an amateur, to his PGA TOUR career to his position as one of the finest Ryder Cup players this country has ever produced,” said Jack Peter, Senior Vice President and COO of the World Golf Hall of Fame. “It is certainly fitting that Wadkins’ career is capped by receiving golf’s highest honor--election into the World Golf Hall of Fame.”
Individuals joining Wadkins as part of the 2009 Class of Inductees will be announced later in 2009. This year’s ceremony will take place at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla. at 6 p.m., Monday, Nov. 2.
For more information about the World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Process, the 2009 Class of Inductees or the ceremony, visit www.wgv.com