Make no mistake – there is a buzz in the air. With the new induction date and new class of Hall of Famers, 2011 is going to be a big year at the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum.
The annual Induction Ceremony will be Monday, May 9, 2011 at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla. It will kick off the week of festivities surrounding THE PLAYERS Championship, which will tee off that Thursday just 30 minutes down the road at TPC Sawgrass. The new induction date is expected to shine an even brighter light on one of golf’s most special events.
And the spotlight will be on a new all-star class, including native South African Ernie Els, Japan’s Masashi “Jumbo” Ozaki,” Scotland’s late Jock Hutchison and Americans Doug Ford and former U.S. President George H.W. Bush.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the Class of 2011,” said Jack Peter, chief operating officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum. “Our mission is global in scope and this year’s class certainly reflects the global character of the game and those who have competed and contributed to it for so many years. The 2011 Induction Ceremony will be a grand celebration of golf around the world and we look forward to welcoming this class into the Hall of Fame & Museum and sharing their stories with golf fans for years to come.”
Els, who was announced during THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola in September, will enter with 66 percent of the vote on the PGA TOUR Ballot. Els’ career includes wins at the 1994 and 1997 U.S. Open Championships and the 2002 Open Championship. He has 15 other PGA TOUR victories, including two World Golf Championships events. Internationally, he has more than 40 victories, many of which he won in South Africa, Europe and Australia. He is also a six-time member of the International Team for The Presidents Cup.
Ozaki, who will enter with 50 percent of the votes on the International Ballot, has more than 100 wins in Japan and was the leading money winner on the Japan Golf Tour 12 times. He competed in more than 40 major championships, including top-10 showings in the Masters Tournament, U.S. Open and Open Championship. He also won six Japan PGA Championships and five Japan Opens.
Both Ford, who captured 19 PGA TOUR victories including the 1955 PGA Championship and the 1957 Masters Tournament, and Hutchison, who won 14 PGA TOUR events including the 1920 PGA Championship, 1921 Open Championship and the 1920 and 1923 Western Opens, will enter through the Veteran’s category.
President Bush, the fifth and final inductee, will enter the Hall of Fame through the Lifetime Achievement category for his help in raising the profile of the sport of golf considerably during and after his Presidential administration. He has been recognized by the golf community over the years, including receiving the 1997 PGA of America Distinguished Service Award, the USGA’s 2008 Bob Jones Award and the 2009 PGA TOUR Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1996, President Bush served as honorary chairman of The Presidents Cup and has since attended every Presidents Cup. He is an honorary member of the PGA, honorary chair of the USGA Museum and Archives President’s council and has served as honorary chairman of The First Tee since 1997.