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April 1, 2007

Ben Crenshaw

Raymond Floyd

Hale Irwin

Tom Kite

Larry Nelson

Jack Peter

BRAD HOWER: For those who don't know me, my name is Brad Hower, Director of Golf here at the Hammock Beach Resort.
We're certainly delighted you all could make it tonight to this event. We're really looking forward to this. When the World Golf Hall of Fame called us to see if we wanted to do this event, there was no hesitation, I should say, in doing this.
So we're excited. And I'm even more excited to be able to introduce Mr. Bobby Ginn to help us kick off the event tonight. So hope you have a good time.
Thank you.
BOBBY GINN: Thank you, Brad. When I heard about this event, they said, "You think anybody will show up?" I said, "You don't know this membership."
If they won't show up to talk about golf, they'll sure show up to talk about booze and liquor. We'll have a good time.
What a wonderful day. What a wonderful event we've had so far. The weather could not have been better for the last few days.
The participation of the members, not only from here, but members from all of our clubs, has just been unbelievable.
You know, one great thing about golf is that it brings everybody together. And it's an opportunity to be happy together and do things.
It's a beautiful park we play in. Doesn't have floors. Doesn't have walls. Just beautiful, beautiful environment we're in.
Certainly the setting here couldn't be any better.
But also to have the opportunity to have the sport, and particularly the Hall of Fame, which recognizes the best of the game over many, many years. All the sports have Hall of Fames. We're lucky enough to have one that's only a few miles away from where we are today.
And I've been through it many, many times. Every time I go there I get a different and renewed appreciation for how great the game of golf is and how much it really means to not only the athletes, not only the business side of it, but for what it means to the resorts and the communities that we bill all over.
So tonight to have the Hall of Fame come out and host a private session like this, bring down the greats of the greats of the sport, we just couldn't be more privileged to have these guys here tonight.
With that, I'd like to thank, first, the panel that will open it up to questions tonight. And also I'd like to introduce Jack Peter, the Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer of the Hall of Fame. What a great job to have.
JACK PETER: Thank you, Bobby. Congratulations on what is turning out to be an incredibly successful first-year event. In large part that has to do with the membership here tonight. And in large part it has to do with the participation of the Champions TOUR members. So I want to thank you all for showing up and supporting this event.
We've got two hours tonight. Just kidding. Just kidding.
We're going to have a little bit of fun tonight. When this idea was first hatched, we started -- the club here started to solicit you and the members about some questions that you would like to have answered from the Hall of Fame members that are with us tonight.
And some we're going to talk about. Some we're not. So without further ado, I'm going to spend just a second introducing the Hall of Fame members.
First of all, on my left, Mr. Hale Irwin, three-time U.S. Open winner.
Hale was inducted in 1992 in the Pinehurst facility, which has as you all know kind of morphed into what we're doing up at the World Golf Village.
Next to him is Tom Kite. Tom was inducted in 2004.
We put our junior member in the middle, Larry Nelson, who was just inducted last year.
Ben Crenshaw, one of our ambassadors, who helps us with a variety of historical things over the course of the years, was inducted in 2002.
And Ray Floyd, which we're glad to have Raymond with us tonight. Ray was inducted in 1989.
So the format, gentlemen, is you all have a microphone. They're all on. There's no real order to this, because we wanted to make this as spontaneous as we could.
So everybody knows the Gators are on tonight, I think, unless you're living under a rock. So the first question: Which is better?
And, Hale, you'll have an opinion about this. The college football Bowl season or NCAA basketball tournament?
(Off microphone)
HALE IRWIN: I think you're right.
JACK PETER: All right. Next question.
HALE IRWIN: University of Colorado really kind of struggles putting out a basketball team, so I've got to go the football way being in the Big 12. So hook 'em horns that's the only time I'll go with you, Tom. I think March Madness is a wonderful thing to have, but I have to kind of have to go for the fall, I'm afraid, yeah.
JACK PETER: Hook 'em horns?
HALE IRWIN: Go Buffs. We have a long ways to go, you see. We have the Hawk, though.
JACK PETER: The Hawk is going to raise them from the ashes, right?
HALE IRWIN: Yes. Energetic guy. That's the new coach.
I think March Madness is great because it brings in a lot of people particularly in the Southeast Conference. Florida has had a wonderful season, both football and basketball. So I'd refrain from voting against them, let's put it that way.
JACK PETER: Anybody else got an opinion on that? No.
I picked this one out. I wanted to make sure we got this one in because this came from an 11-year-old girl who is the daughter of one of the members here. And she wanted to know if your parents supported your decision to be a professional golfer, which I think is really an interesting question.
HALE IRWIN: How do I do it? I'll start and we'll go on down. I don't think -- looking back, my parents were certainly supportive of it. But unlike what you might, I'm guessing from this young lady, is a much different world than we had now as far as golf goes and entering the game professionally.
My choice to go forward, really didn't have a whole lot of choices at the time. Golf was not as spectacular a sport as it is now. We didn't have quite the glamour. Certainly didn't have the prize money. So you took a big chance in going out there and trying to make your living that way.
Yes, they were very supportive, but they would have been supportive in whatever I did because they knew that it was not a decision I made lightly, because back in those days, if you ever expressed the intent to become a professional, you were a professional.
So you couldn't talk about it to anyone. You couldn't -- if we all set down and talked about it, if I went to Raymond and said "Ray, what are you going to do?" "I'll tell you what I'm going to do but it's off the record, nobody is going to know about it." That's the way you talked about it. So it was not something that was easy to come by.
You had to kind of do it in secret. Yes, my parents were there, but my golf history was not nearly as long in those days as some of these kids are now. So my decision was made pretty much something I wanted to do but I had to keep it kind of under my coattails for a long, long time.
TOM KITE: My parents were very supportive. They were a little worried. I grew up in Austin, Texas. I kept getting beat by this kid named Crenshaw.
So they were a little scared that if I couldn't beat the kid who lived just right down the road, how was I going to beat the guys out on the course.
But I really think, like Hale said, I think you'll find that in almost every case, up and down -- I don't want to speak for all them -- but I know in most cases you have to have the support of your parents or the ones that have an influence on your game.
This is an individual sport. But you're not going to get there alone. You gotta have some help from a lot of people. And if you have some parents that have some nice values and are very supportive of your career and anything you do, like Hale said, your parents are supportive of you, no matter which direction you go, that makes a huge impact.
There is a fine line between supporting you and pushing you. We all know about the parents that push too hard. And mine were very supportive. I don't think they ever crossed that edge of pushing hard. But there was some strong encouragement that if I was going to try to beat the kid next door I better do some practicing.
JACK PETER: Great. Larry.
LARRY NELSON: Yes, my parents didn't know who Tom or Ben were.
But my parents never played golf. They weren't around golf. When I quit my job at Lockheed, they thought I was crazy. But when I finished fourth in my club championship I thought I had a chance.
So I went --
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: Which flight?
LARRY NELSON: They don't quite understand that. I don't think they got that. But who knows.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: Identify which flight.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: How big a membership?
LARRY NELSON: It was the first flight.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: It wasn't with the bobby club, was it?
LARRY NELSON: We weren't quite up to that caliber yet. No, nobody in my family. First person ever to play golf. So actually somebody asked me what motivated you to play. I said, "I didn't have any money, didn't have a job, so I learned how to play golf."
And ended up competing against these guys who were a little bit better than I was when I started.
JACK PETER: What time did you start all this, that's the important part? What age?
LARRY NELSON: I started when I was 21. I was a little older. Just got back from Vietnam, didn't have anything to do. Somebody did ask me, "How do you pick your hotel rooms?" I pick it by whoever has a hair dryer.
JACK PETER: We'll go now to Ben.
BEN CRENSHAW: That's good, Larry. My parents were very supportive. In Tom's case, there's no question that I had -- I was eyeballing the best competition I possibly could at that time.
My father was a lawyer. He went to Baylor University, and I think that he harbored a dream that I might be a lawyer some day. But judging by my aptitude, skills in school, that was vanishing rapidly. When I was 16, I was a good baseball player but I quit everything to play golf.
But I think all of us here were blessed to have great parents. And I've said that to Tom many times. I know Tom -- we grew up together. But you know one of the great things that you can have in life is a great, what a great start to have a great mom and dad.
You'll find your way.
JACK PETER: Raymond.
RAYMOND FLOYD: Obviously my parents were very supportive. I grew up in a golfing environment. My father was a golf professional. My mother was a club champion. My sister was a professional. So I kind of come from a background of golf.
It's pretty much as long as I can remember, and as I get older my memory is not as long.
But as long as I could remember, my goal was to be a professional golfer. So my family certainly supported my efforts in the game.
JACK PETER: Raymond, we're going to stick with you and come back this way. But all of you are major champions. And if you can, can you think of one shot that you feel was probably the most important one in your career.
RAYMOND FLOYD: One shot that's the most important in my career, it very well could have been a shot maybe in my first win. But I know that you're probably channeling towards a major. And I can't honestly say that I could pull one particular shot.
But I think looking back on my major wins, a shot that I see played on Golf Channel. And when I'm at the Augusta National, they rerun the old tournaments constantly on an in-house theater movie channel there or something. And the 13th hole when I won in 1976, I had driven kind of through the fairway up to the top, and they played there no rough at Augusta then.
There were two big pine trees that sat right there. My ball kind of rolled up more in the tree well site but a pretty good line. It was above my feet. And I was playing so well at the time, and I looked up there and the pin was on the very front left of the green, which all of these guys know is a very, very difficult position. Even if you hit the ball on the green you can't leave it short, or hard to even hit it up there because your ball will go deep and now you've got a terribly difficult putt coming back up to that front plateau which would be swinging left.
And I looked up there, didn't even think twice, and I looked over at the bunker, which is about, you know, the size of a fourth of the green, the left front bunker. I said to my caddie, "I can put it in the left bunker and it would be an easy explosion up there."
I pulled the 5-wood out, whipped it in the bunker. Almost pulled it out of the bunker. Made birdie and walked away. Every time I see that film I freeze and think -- what made you make a decision to do something like that.
But it worked. So I guess that positive mental attitude at the time -- but that's the shot that I'll always remember because I keep seeing it replayed so much.
JACK PETER: Fair enough. Fair enough. Ben. One of the most. Doesn't have to be the most, because you have a lot of great shots over the years.
BEN CRENSHAW: My first win at Augusta in 1984, it was a second putt that I made on No. 14. It was about 15 feet long. And I was playing very well. These two guys right here, Larry and Tom, were just -- we were neck and neck the whole time. And I felt like if I dropped a shot then on 14 it was going to be shaky to the house. But it went in.
It was the hardest looking putt I ever saw. I don't want to see it again. But I knocked it in.
LARRY NELSON: Had to be '83 at Oakmont. They're going back to Oakmont this year for the U.S. Open. The 14th hole, I had shot 65 on Saturday to get within one shot of Watson and Seve Ballestero I guess going into Sunday.
I was 3-under par going into the 14th hole. And I was actually tied with Watson at the time. And the 14th hole, a lot of these guys remember it, it's kind of a 3-wood wedge shot. It's not one of the longer holes there.
Hit a pitching wedge about two and a half feet. And breathed there to take a one-shot lead at the time. To me it was probably the best shot under that type of pressure.
TOM KITE: I held a chip shot out at No. 7 Pebble Beach when I won the (indiscernible)
Brings back some nice memories. That hole is, it's like a little practice hole. You sit there and you think about what a easy hole it is. And under normal conditions, my gosh, on a calm day you can almost spit on the front of the green from the tee, the hole is so short. It's downhill, a little sand wedge shot.
And during the last round of the U.S. Open there in '92, not one player in the last 32 players that played that hole hit that green in regulation. In the last 16 groups, not one player hit it.
And we had about 105 or 107 yards down to the hole, and I was trying to play some sort of knock-down 6-iron just to get it down there somewhere close and hopefully hold it against the wind. Of course the wind blew it way left.
And danggum it, the pin got in the way. The ball went in and (indiscernible) that was -- I only have one flag hanging on my wall at home. But it's the flag from No. 7 at Pebble Beach. That means a lot.
JACK PETER: Great. Great story.
Mr. Hale.
HALE IRWIN: I like the history of these guys. It's fascinating. How in the world do you know who you played with and how far it was? It was so long ago.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: I remember a shot that Ben hit.
JACK PETER: Figures Crenshaw would remember a putt.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: Everyone who's played against Ben remembers [Ben's 5].
BEN CRENSHAW: It's so overblown. Just so overblown.
HALE IRWIN: I kind of go back to what Raymond said. Probably a lot of shots along the way that were very important but because we're talking about majors, have to be my first major at Wingford in '74. Last hole, hitting a 2-iron to the green. Even though it was a two-shot lead, we all knew it at the time, because Wingford, it was impossible that week. But it was one of those shots where I just I played it through in my mind, what it took to hit this particular shot.
And fortunately it was my first opportunity to win a major championship. And the moment of contact I knew it was good. It's just that feeling that the old clubs had, the old balls had, just that real solid feel you had, and I knew it was the shot.
JACK PETER: Great. We're leaving the golf course for a minute. This is a quick one. What was the last movie you saw?
If you can't remember, you can just pass.
HALE IRWIN: It was last night. We watched "Casino Royale" right here.
JACK PETER: It's okay to pass.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: I don't (indiscernible)
It's been a while. I don't go to movies very often.
LARRY NELSON: (Indiscernible), I guess.
BEN CRENSHAW: I can't do it.

JACK PETER: (Indiscernible).
LARRY NELSON: I'm not big on movies but I saw "Departed."
JACK PETER: Thank you. Going back to the golf course, this is a little bit easier but equally as quick. What's your favorite golf course?
Wait a minute, wait a minute.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: Is Bobby still in the house? Bobby, you're great, top of the list.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: We had to step out and take a little risk here.
RAYMOND FLOYD: Let me handle this being the elder statesman in the group. That's probably one of the most asked questions of a professional golfer. It is one of the most vague asked questions.
It's so hard to answer a question like that when we have played all over the world: Geography, terrain, links. We have so many kinds of golf courses. And to take one for any one of us I think would be unfair.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: But I think, you know, there are just so many different types of golf courses. And I can sit here and name my top five and I can say, well, this and that. And most I think everybody's top five will be golf courses that major championships have been played on and have withstood the test of time.
And so it's kind of a little unfair, I think, for me to answer it in that sense.
JACK PETER: Let me narrow it down, and it's a very good point. Because you guys don't really play on any bad courses.
So we'll take it right here. What hole do you find most interesting and challenging out here on the ocean this week?
RAYMOND FLOYD: Which way is the wind blowing?
JACK PETER: I think we'll go back to movies in a minute.

BEN CRENSHAW: I'll tell you this, I don't think you'll find one player this week who hasn't said this is an extremely solid, interesting and tough test of golf but is extremely playable for all classes of golfers.
I'm not kidding you --
When I see Jack Nicklaus next week, I can't wait to tell him what a good job he did here. He really did. I'm not kidding you. I think all of these guys feel that they they're tested in every department of the game. The shots are well spread out through the round. There's a diverse amount of shots. There's long shots, short shots. Every conceivable green angle. I mean he's really done a good job. That's the mark of a good golf course.
There's no question that, I think Raymond has said it exactly right because it is terribly subjective. All of the golf courses in the world, golf courses are so integral to the part of the game that we play. It's why we play the game.
Clubs and balls and implements and golf courses are the game. And to play together with everybody, but I think all of us are sort of proponents of the classics and we could name those.
But this is a very good golf course right here.
JACK PETER: Ben, Jack who?
BEN CRENSHAW: Jack Nicklaus.
JACK PETER: That's an actor, right?
Any other comments on the most --
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: I agree with Ben. There's a lot of solid holes out here. I think there's great balance. I love the par 5s because you've got two downwind, two into the wind. So one set of them plays fairly short, while the other couples play tough.
But the hole to me that has some of the most character mainly because it has some elevation change, which is unique for Florida, is the 15th hole. I think it's one of the most attractive holes on this golf course. Plays up the hill.
It just looks like Jack just set that green right on top of a sand dune up there and played a nice little shot up there. I love the two mounds that are short of the green, frame it, give you this valley to play through.
It's a heck of a golf hole when you're playing into that wind. But better bring your A game. But I love that golf hole.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: Sometimes you can confuse what is difficult for uncomfortable. Because there may be a lot of holes out here we may find uncomfortable because of the way we're playing the game.
If you're hitting the ball particularly well, it may not be uncomfortable. A lot of holes, they set up nicely. But sometimes the shorter holes can be just as difficult as the longer ones. That little 16th hole, I'm sure it took a lot of people.
LARRY NELSON: At least I can say I can eliminate three holes I made double on today.
And eliminate those as far as my favorite.
No. 18, the first day I hit 9-iron in my second shot. Was that Friday? And then today I hit 4-wood.
LARRY NELSON: It is unique.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: Boy, you missed your guide.
LARRY NELSON: Actually, I hit it pretty good.
But it's amazing. When southeast, northeast, northern winds, you like a golf course that changes with the weather, I think, because they're so unique. Golf is so unique anyway.
And I think that's the way a golf course should be. You get the prevailing wind and you know which way to put the holes and where to put the bunkers and that kind of stuff. When it goes the other way it's still got to be playable.
So I think that's what happened.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: Jack, let me add one other thing really quick. This isn't toot Bobby Ginn's horn, but we started off with this tournament and Bobby announced that he was going to have a tournament here in this area. And he originally announced it at the Conservatory because the infrastructure was not ready at the last minute. I mean it was almost at the 11th hour they decided to move it over here to this golf course.
None of the players on TOUR had ever played the golf course, had ever been here or seen it. There was some concern about the condition of the golf course. And it was a total unknown for us coming in here. We didn't know the area. We didn't know the golf course. We didn't know the accommodations. We didn't know anything about the area.
I think to a man, every person in this field has been absolutely blown away with the event, the support, the facility, the membership, everybody has just been fantastic.
For a first-year event, as you said, Jack, this is very special and we are looking forward to a long run here.
JACK PETER: This is an interesting question that came in early on when we were asking for the questions. And it had to do with who is your idol as you were growing up, not only in the golf world, but did you have any idols in the non-golf world growing up or heroes, I guess. Raymond, we'll start with you.
RAYMOND FLOYD: Arnold Palmer.
BEN CRENSHAW: Bobby Jones. Arnold Palmer and I had the same birthdate.
JACK PETER: That works.
TOM KITE: The kid that was two years younger than me who kept beating the hell out of me.
No, Ben and I were fortunate enough to grow up with a wonderful teacher named Harvey Penik, he was a pretty good player.
BEN CRENSHAW: Member of the Hall of Fame.
TOM KITE: Member of the Hall of Fame, that's correct. But not only did Ben and I choose our parents very well, but we chose our instructor very well. And he was an inspiration to not only the two of us but a number of people that are in the Hall of Fame and a number of amateur players from 2 handicaps to 36 handicaps.
JACK PETER: Great answer.
JACK PETER: You probably -- I don't know, you may or may not be tired of this question, but we've done similar sorts of forums around the country.
Michelle Wie. What do we think about Michelle Wie?
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: What's her number and who does she play for?
JACK PETER: Okay. Moving right along.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: Remember when Sandy Lyle, Sandy Lyle is a great friend of all of us. Sandy Lyle was asked way back when Tiger Woods was coming on the scene, 15, 16. They said, "Sandy, what do you think of Tiger Woods?" He said, "I don't know. I've never played there."
JACK PETER: Okay. We'll move past Michelle Wie. Go ahead, Ben.
BEN CRENSHAW: Michelle Wie is blessed with so much talent. She can hit the ball a long ways. She's got a beautiful swing. But there's two halves to the game. There's a short game. She's going to learn to chip and putt and get the ball in the hole. And believe me, she's fine. God, she's just 16 years old. For God's sake, let her be who she is and she'll be fine. I think she's probably had a little pressure put on her.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: That's an understatement.
JACK PETER: We're driving on. There's been a lot of discussion obviously over the last several years about technology and lengthening of golf courses. This is one of the questions that came in, too. And the discussion and the talk about a tournament golf ball.
Is it ever going to be an option? Is it something that should be considered? Or what's your guys' thoughts on that? Tournament ball.
Start with the middle. Ray.
RAYMOND FLOYD: I think what's so great about this game is that we can take any one of you who have played at all and we can go out here and compete on this golf course, because of our handicapped system.
I think if we start doing something that the pros play with one thing and you play with another, I think we're going to take away a lot of something that's very positive about this game.
I think we have to do it across the board if we do anything. I think just using something for tournament play I don't think will work.
JACK PETER: Anybody else have any thoughts on that?
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: I'm coming from another place than Ray, and I certainly understand his point. We are the only major professional sport in the world that does not play a uniform ball. I'll leave it at that.
JACK PETER: Okay. Anybody else? Hale.
HALE IRWIN: Well, I think Larry has an interesting perspective. And I think it's very true. But I would have to probably side with Raymond. I think -- I've been against the TOUR ball, so to speak.
But when you see what technology is doing, it's not necessarily making -- the player's talent level is not getting better because of their physical gifts, they're using the equipment to raise the bar. Unlike years ago, Jack Nicklaus was light years ahead of the others. And he did it on talent, because the equipment back then was not anything like it is now.
Now we have that gap between the best and the others is very narrow. And that is not necessarily because of the talent pool. There was -- who was it I was hearing say this story? -- Watson, Tom Watson was out in Pebble Beach playing in the AT&T tournament this year and he played a practice round. There were two young men standing on 16. They were at Spy Glass. These kids couldn't hook the ball. They didn't know how to hook the ball. They just couldn't do it because they have learned to hit the ball hard all the time.
That's not necessarily a shot that was hit hard. So they're not learning as young kids how to maneuver and how to do the things and shaping the ball the way they used to. And I think that is lost in the game now, that ability to maneuver and manipulate is being lost. The younger kids now are just learning to hit it very hard and very long. But that doesn't necessarily equate to being a great international player.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: You know, when you're looking at guys that are up there our age, you have to understand that we long for the good old days. Believe me. And in this particular situation, the good old days were better. The guys were better shot-makers. Hale Irwin and Ray Floyd and Larry, those three right there alone hit the ball as well as anybody. They played shots.
I played with Raymond yesterday. My gosh, he's holding it up against the wind. Shot a great score. Apart from two bogeys on the last two holes, he would have been a leader after the first round. He just played a phenomenal round. And there was never a shot out there that was plain vanilla. He was also putting pralines and cream or chocolate sauce on it, every shot. The wind is blowing 30 miles an hour. It's in the rain. It was a beautiful round of golf to watch. He finished the way he did just for that one reason.
Ben was just telling me a few minutes ago that he played with Hale today and Hale had the same situation. He finished very poorly, but he said for 15 holes I guess really the whole thing, it was just a phenomenal round.
I mean you watch the guys out here, even with the equipment, and there's a lot of shots being played. You're holding it up against the wind and you're turning with it. Or you're low or you're high.
And as Hale said, the kids today, apart from, one, the kid that wins them all out there, he plays shots. And everybody wants to be like Tiger, but nobody has the shots that he has. Everybody else is just blasting it as far as they can.
I would be strongly in favor of a roll-back. The unfortunate thing is that a roll-back, if you did it across the board, as Larry suggested, is y'all would be hurt, too. Y'all would lose a little bit of the advantage that you've gained over the years with the equipment.
But I can assure you, whatever gains you've made in your game and still being able to hit the ball a reasonable distance, Tiger and Phil and Charlie Howell, those guys have gained way more than you have. Way more.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: Way more than we have.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: Way more than we have.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: Well, they grew up with it.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: You're looking at guys, played with wooden shafts, wooden clubs, balls that spun. We built the game around a certain technique.
Now all of a sudden you have totally different equipment. We've gained distance. We hit the ball further than we ever did.
But I'm not sure the game is the beneficiary. We're spending millions and millions of dollars with a number of organizations trying to make the game grow. And the game's not growing. Maybe it's because people have trouble relating to 400-yard drives. I do.
JACK PETER: All right. All right. I want to ask a question that is part self-serving but very much genuine. At the Hall of Fame we sell recognition. And we talk a lot about legacy and we are serious about it. And I think it would be interesting for the crowd here to know what it means for you guys to be known as one of the greatest players in history and part of the Hall of Fame.
BEN CRENSHAW: First of all, I'd just like to field that because all of us here are so proud and so lucky that we play golf, number one. And number two, these fellows that I'm up here with, I look up to them. They are a great example of people, number one. They're great golfers. I admire their quality so much.
I suppose the best thing I could say is that we are proponents of our game because we know how much it means to people. It's touched all facets of people's lives. I don't care whether you're a caddie or whether you play the game occasionally, you play it all your life. We've seen instructors. You know, Tom and I were blessed to have Harvey [Penik], but this game is good. It's sound. It's honorable.
It's one of the few honorable things left in this world. We're proud of our game. We want people to experience what we've experienced. And that's the only thing I can say. I'm proud of these guys and to join them. We're very proud, and we feel lucky, too, to be in the position that we're in.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: Jack, I got a feeling this is kind of one of the last questions so you want us all to address it a little bit.
JACK PETER: I would like that.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: I'm echoing remarks, what Ben said. I'm going to answer a little more directly. And my goal as a youngster was to be a professional golfer. So you can imagine when I got to go on tour, that was my goal. And to sit back and reflect on a career that put me into the Hall of Fame, in my wildest dreams, you could never fathom.
But again what Ben said, this is such an incredible game. It's a game of integrity. It's a game of honesty. It's a game of good sportsmanship. And I've always said: If one leads their life by the rules of the game of golf, you will be a stand-up citizen. And that's why it's good for young people to play it.
We don't need referees out here. We call things on ourselves. The rules of golf are made to benefit. They're not made to hurt. But if you play the game by the rules, you will be a good stand-up citizen. I'm blessed, as Ben said, to be part of a group like this.
LARRY NELSON: Well, being one of the newest members of this group, even though I've played with these guys for 35 years, you know coming from, starting late, I remember sitting around and reading about Ben in a magazine before I really started playing the game. And I had no clue when I first started playing that this would ever even be a possibility.
But to sit up here with this group of guys, it's hard for me to feel like I belong. But I think people ask me what was your greatest golf experience. And even though I won a few major tournaments, my greatest golf experience was actually standing in the locker room at Walton Heath at the end of the Ryder Cup in 1981 with these five guys -- four guys.
And probably one of the best Ryder Cup teams that probably ever played as far as a major championship. That's what it's all about. We all identify our families -- we raised families out here. We had the same problems out here. I mean it's Ben -- it's a really -- when you think about it, it's a select group of people. Not select in that we're better than everybody else, but select in that we're different than everybody else.
And this is what makes this so important. And to be not even -- to be put into a category with the greatest guys that have ever played the game is just very special to me.
HALL OF FAME MEMBER: We all start off playing the game, and as everybody's learned, you have aspirations and dreams or goals that you set for yourself. The Hall of Fame can only be a dream. There's no way that can be a goal.
You just go out and you play the best golf you can. Hopefully it results in a couple of victories every now and then. You total it up when it's all said and done, maybe you're lucky enough, chosen to be among this panel.
It's an incredible experience. But the best thing in my mind is how the Hall of Fame is chosen. The players, once you're in the Hall of Fame, you have a vote. So basically there are some other people that do it, people in the media, people with the golf organizations that have a vote; but quite honestly, to get elected, you're not going to get in there unless the players that are members of the Hall of Fame choose you to be in there.
So it really means a lot, not only to be a Hall of Fame member, but knowing that all these guys that went ahead of you had something to do with you being in there means an awful lot.
JACK PETER: Your turn,.
HALE IRWIN: Not much left. But they've all put it so, so well. Sitting here kind of thinking what could I say a little differently, but I couldn't say it any better than they have.
But I keep going back, as has been alluded to, your roots, the origins and how you start. And we all have lockers at the Hall of Fame. And my locker has a little golf bag in it that's got some old clubs, cut down clubs, that that's how I started playing, in a little town in Baxter Springs, Kansas, Mickey Mantle country, by the way, on sand greens, lousy little golf course. And my dad took me out and he made these little sawed-off clubs.
That means a whole -- that is golf to me. That's why it's alone in my locker, because I go back to that. That's what reminds me of where I started and that represents how proud I am to be in the Hall of Fame. And to share with these guys our memories, our lives, our families. And that's what it is to me is to meet the people. It's not the golf balls, not the trophies, it's not the money, it's the people you meet and the people you meet along the way.
JACK PETER: Great. Well, on behalf of the membership of the Hall of Fame, our 250 volunteers that actually make it work day to day and our staff, I would like to thank all of you gentlemen for being with us tonight. I'd like to again thank Bobby Ginn and the membership for allowing us to be here tonight.
I'm going to ask you let these guys leave, they have a variety of commitments off the stage. And I have to put in a commercial plug-in for the induction ceremony which is this November.
So thank you, gentlemen.
November 12th, Monday, 6:00 p.m., (indiscernible) we'll make sure you're all invited. We hope to see you there. Have a nice week.

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