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July 13, 2015

Laura Davies

Peter Dawson

Tim Finchem

David Graham

John Hopkins

Charles Mechem

Jack Peter

Gary Player


PETER DAWSON: Ladies and gentlemen, it's my very great pleasure on behalf of the R&A to welcome you to St. Andrews to the Home of Golf, and particularly here to Younger Hall in the town's famous University. As we've already heard, now over 600 years from its foundation. This is the first World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony to be staged away from the Hall's home base in St. Augustine, Florida, and it could not have chosen a more appropriate location than here in St. Andrews in this very special week. The 144th Open Championship will be played over the Old Course, and today's ceremony will add significantly to what is always a great celebration of golf. I would like to offer the R&A's congratulations, sincere congratulations, to today's inductees. We are, of course, particularly delighted that R&A honorary member Dame Laura Davies and 1998 Open Champion Mark O'Meara are being honored today, but no less pleased for David Graham and the family of the late A.W. Tillinghast. All four inductees richly deserve the recognition they are receiving. As a member of the board of directors, it has been exciting for me to witness the growth of the Hall of Fame and also very satisfying to see all of the major organizations in golf coming together to ensure the Hall's ongoing success and development. It's critical that the achievements of our great players and other contributors to golf are recognized and applauded, and the Hall of Fame is leading our sport's efforts to ensure that this important task is accomplished. Today's ceremony is further evidence of this work. And again, I welcome you all to St. Andrews and to the Open Championship. Thank you.

GARY PLAYER: (Via video) I'm delighted to be able to introduce David Graham, a man that I've admired over the years very much indeed. David Graham, if anybody ever deserved to be in the Hall of Fame, it's you. First of all, your record proves it. David won two major championships. He won tournaments all over the world, so he was the complete golfer. David will appreciate this like Charlie Sifford did, who I dearly remember saying, whoeee, I never thought I'd be in the Hall of Fame. I made sure I didn't have an accident the month before. I watched the road to the left and the cars to the right and I took great care to make sure I was here this evening, and it was very touching. David Graham, you are a man who I know well, having been in the midst of your company for all these years, how much you will appreciate this evening. As I wear this jacket this evening, the World Golf Hall of Fame jacket and tie, I am so proud because it means so much in my life. To have this ceremony at St. Andrews in my eyes is very special. St. Andrews and the R&A mean so much to me as a golfer because what they've done for golf round the world for a long, long time is to be admired, and when you think this place is so richly steeped in great history and tradition, and I couldn't think of a better place in the world for this to take place. Just a word of interest: When David won the Open at Merion, he did something that I can't recall ever having been done before. He hit all 18 fairways and all 18 greens the last round. I don't recall anybody ever doing that, not to say it hasn't been done. David, to you and your family, well done, my friend, and God bless. Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me such pleasure to be able to introduce David Graham tonight, and enough said on the screen, but David has been such a thorough gentleman, an outstanding golfer, and a man who's widened golf to amongst all over the world, which is not easy. It's easy to win in your backyard but not all over the world. I think the thing that comes to mind with David, that he's so grateful. He and Charlie Sifford, I've never seen two people with such gratitude to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, particularly on this wonderful stage at St. Andrews. He looks so handsome there, but he still looks so handsome today, and I said to him, how do you do it? He said, well, I've had my face tightened five times, but not had to break. It would suck you all onto the stage.

DAVID GRAHAM: Gary, I maybe should put my Rolex up here so I don't take more than the scheduled time, as well. Thank you, Gary. Thank you so much. What an incredible honor it is for me to be introduced by you. You are golf's greatest ambassador, and I so appreciate your support and your long-time friendship. It is such a pleasure to be here in St. Andrews in this magnificent hall. Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, members of the executive committee of the World Golf Hall of Fame, its chairman, Tim Finchem, Peter Dawson of the R&A, and now I can say fellow members of the World Golf Hall of Fame, and to our fantastic sponsors Rolex and Shell, thank you so much for this special evening. Tim, thank you for your call regarding my selection. Not long after you called, Mike Davis of the USGA called as well as Jack Peter of the Hall of Fame also called me to congratulate me. They were three calls that I was delighted to receive. Commissioner, on that afternoon, I had a golf game with our friend, President George W. Bush. I told him of my selection. I didn't violate your confidentiality with the President. And on the first shot I hit on the first tee, he said, "nice shot, Hall of Famer." That was the first time that I had heard that. So coming from a President, that was pretty good. I got interested in golf when I was 12 at a little golf course called Wattle Park in Melbourne, Australia. I got a job there working on the weekends, and some of the unknown reasons that I started to play left-handed, and I don't know why I did that, but when I went to work for George Naismith, he was the head professional at Riversdale Golf Club in Melbourne, he changed me from playing left-handed to playing right-handed. Thank goodness I listened to him. I worked at Riversdale for five years. Not long after that, I was fortunate to meet a gentleman by the name of Eric Cremin. He talked me into going to Sydney. He also introduced me to one of Australia's foremost teachers, Alex Mercer. Alex started to give me lessons. He was the head professional at Royal Sydney. He provided me with a great foundation to become a better player, and then there was the legendary Norman Von Nida, a little man with a big heart. He helped so many young players, including myself. In 1966, my life took another turn. That's when I first met my dear friend Bruce Devlin in Canberra. Little did I know that four years later, Bruce and I would go on to win the World Cup for Australia in Buenos Aires. I remember flying from coach and I remember flying back first class. I found out very quickly that playing well certainly had its benefits. So the greatest player that I have ever known is Jack Nicklaus. Both he and Barbara were so helpful to us when we moved to America. In fact, I worked for Jack when he owned the MacGregor Golf Club Company. I helped him in designing his clubs. Also here tonight is Australia's greatest golfer, Mr. Peter Thomson. I can remember, you may not, but I can remember waiting a couple of hours to play golf with you when I was 17 years old at Victoria Golf Club. You have been a great champion, Peter, on and off the golf course. What an honor it is to have royalty in the building, Mr. Arnold Palmer. Thank you, Arnold. You may remember, too, that I had a Tommy Armour putter that you wanted. We were in Pebble Beach in 1972. You were very kind enough when we made a deal to give me a set of your irons. I used those irons to win my very first tournament in the United States. I hope you still have your putter. Golf is so popular today because of you. Thank you, sir. Then there is the funny man, the Super Mex. I'm sorry he is not here this evening. Since my health issues, he has been such a good friend to me. He convinced me to start playing the game again. To my fellow members at my club in Dallas, thank you so much for allowing me to be part of such a great place. Also many thanks to Dr. Parker, our famous golf historian, and to the 200-plus workers at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job. Congratulations to my fellow inductees, especially my dear friend Mark O'Meara, and having said all that, there's one year that is the most important in my life, that's 1968. This is the hard part. That's the year I married Maureen. Her name should be on this trophy, as well. So on behalf of my beautiful wife, our two sons, Andrew and Michael, our daughter-in-law Molly, who are here this evening, and our five wonderful grandchildren, as well as my many friends, some who have made this trip here tonight, this has been a wonderful evening for me at this time in my life, and I am so grateful. Thank you very much.

JOHN HOPKINS: It's interesting, isn't it, how many of the great and good in golf have two forenames, Robert Tyre Jones, Jack William Nicklaus, Arnold Daniel Palmer, Arnold Warren Tillinghast, the forgotten genius of American golf course architecture, fits right into that category. Tilly, he bears the same name as Harry Vardon's mistress, which is a fact that might have escaped your attention but I couldn't resist bringing. He was an only child born in Philadelphia in 1874. His father ran a thriving rubber company. As a boy Tilly played cricket, so he knows the difference between a silly made on and fine leg and a googly and a chinaman. He played rugby. Most of all, he played golf well enough to enter the U.S. Amateur where he lost to competitors such as Chandler Egan, Chick Evans, and Walter Travis. Tilly finished 25th in the 1910 U.S. Open. Now, he lived what could be euphemistically described as a colorful life. He was something of a polly man. He married at 20. He caroused. He played the piano. He dressed like a dandy, and he had a mustache with waxed ends that looked, it was noted, as though they could spike both the incoming and outgoing mail. Think of Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie detective novels and you'll get the picture. He was a founding member of the PGA of America. He was editor and a contributor to Golf Illustrated. He wrote golf novels, though not as well as P. G. Wodehouse. He lived high on the hog, spending $10 for every $5 he earned, and this profligacy caught up with him eventually. He ended up selling antiques in Beverly Hills. What he did best, though, was design golf courses. The late years of the 19th century and the early ones of the 20th were good times to be in the fast-growing United States, a good time to be playing golf, and for Tilly, a good time to be designing golf courses. 1974, 32 years after Tilly's death, was a bumper year for him. Four of his courses were used for USGA events, the West Course at Winged Foot for the U.S. Open, San Francisco Golf Club for the Curtis Cup, Brookline Country Club for the U.S. Junior Amateur, and Ridgewood Country Club for the U.S. Amateur. Not bad for one year, eh? We know and we revere Alister MacKenzie for his ability to use dead ground, a characteristic he learned in the Boer War, as well as for his skills in shaping bunkers. We admire Harry Colt for the way his courses become more difficult the nearer you get to the flagstick. So what are the characteristics of a Tillinghast course? Ben Crenshaw, who is to golf course architecture what Michelangelo is to ceiling painting, says that Tillinghast courses last and last. I suppose I will always think of a well-bunkered target of a green, not generously large, but usually one that fits the landscape beautifully, well-contoured, and of proper size for the shot called for, Crenshaw wrote in a letter to me. Other experts talk of the way Tilly started with a green and worked back from there. They marvel at the fill pads on his courses, the greens, the bunkers, the surrounding areas that cause golfers to get within 50 yards of a Tillinghast green and go, wow. Golf aficionados argue which architect did what to which hole or what course. Tilly himself claimed to have created the 7th and the 13th at Pine Valley, though George Crump's name is the one associated with that masterpiece. There is no argument, though, that Tillinghast was exceptional, a man to whom all today's architects owe a debt of gratitude. I began by introducing him as golf's forgotten genius. I end by hoping that he is no longer quite so forgotten. Thank you.

JACK PETER: Good evening. I'm Jack Peter, the Chief Operating Officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame, and it is a thrill to be here at the Home of Golf to induct the Class of 2015. It was at St. Andrews that some of the earliest recorded rounds of golf were played in the 15th century, and so it is fitting that this ceremony, honoring heroes in the history of the game should be held in the shadow of the Old Course. This year's Hall of Fame class is the product of a new, more refined selection process, and having the induction here is another example of the continued evolution and maturation of the Hall of Fame. Like the game of golf itself, the Hall of Fame is growing. Truly one of the goals of the revamped Hall of Fame process was to make certain that the word "WORLD" is viewed as being in capital letters, both in spirit and in practice, and this year's class is a tribute to that intention. A.W. Tillinghast was born in the U.S. but studied the game under Old Tom Morris and was inspired by the Old Course on his way to becoming one of golf's greatest architects. Dame Laura Davies, an Englishwoman who never lost her devotion to the Ladies European Tour despite becoming a global player who helped lead the international expansion of the LPGA. David Graham, from the other side of the world, Australia, helped expand the game in the Asia-Pacific region by winning the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open, and being captain of the first International Team for the Presidents Cup. And Mark O'Meara, an American whose victory in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in 1998, three months after winning the Masters, made him at the age of 41 the oldest player to win two majors in the same season. Competitors and a contributor, male and female, three continents represented in a class of four. The Hall of Fame may be located in St. Augustine, Florida, but within its walls, the full breadth and depth of this world of golf is represented. All of us are custodians in the passage of time, preserving history, so that those who come after us can marvel in the achievements of those who came before us. I'm so glad that you can be here tonight to share with us the beginning of a new day for the World Golf Hall of Fame, and what better place is there for a new beginning than at the place where it all began, St. Andrews. So please enjoy this special evening honoring some very special people in this very special place. Thank you.

CHARLIE MECHEM: Long ago in a land far, far away, I had the privilege of serving as the Commissioner of the LPGA. Then as now, we had a group of wonderful young women who were also very talented golfers. Then, as now, among that exceptional group of young ladies was the gloriously talented Laura Davies, and then as now, there was and is no one quite like Dame Laura. Laura started playing golf when she was 14, and her brother Tony let her tag along with him and his friends. In her early amateur days, her mum Rita and stepfather Mike drove her all over the country and she says that, and I will quote, without them, I would never have happened. Her dad Dave followed Laura at many events. My wife and I often walked the rope lines with her dad. He never put any pressure on Laura. He just loved watching her play, and didn't we all. There is neither time nor need to recite endless statistics of Laura's amazing career, but a few are absolutely essential to note. 83 worldwide victories, four majors, winners of the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit a record seven times, first player male or female to win on five different Tours in one calendar year, and an unmatched record in Solheim Cup play, and of course just recently being made a Dame by the Queen. It was in 1987 that she stunned and reshaped the world of women's golf. Laura won the U.S. Women's Open as a non-member of the LPGA, leading the Tour to change its constitution and regulations to grant her membership. She then led the LPGA onto the worldwide stage as well as introducing the option to play on the LPGA Tour to her fellow European players. But it wasn't just the result of her play that made Laura unique. It was how she played. Her inimitable style, her strength, her power, her boldness. I always thought of Laura playing with controlled abandon. Beyond all of this and more important than all of this is Laura herself: Gracious, warm, loving life, and living it to the fullest every day, driving her Porsche on the Autobahn, organizing games with the local pro teams at Tour stops, the occasional visit to a nearby casino, Laura was always eager for the next adventure. Indeed JoAnne Carner, when once asked by Lewine Mair about Laura, said that Laura played golf at a pace that suggests that she had more pressing business at the end of the round. I have always believed that the best measure of a person is how they are regarded by their peers, so I asked several great LPGA players to give me their thoughts on Laura. Sherri Steinhauer, twice winner of the women's British Open, noted that Laura is a genuine, soft spoken, kind-hearted by fierce, powerful competitor who is always cordial and friendly with her playing partners. Annika Sorenstam said she always admired Laura as the leader and the face of the Ladies European Tour for so many years. She smiled when she remembered their playing as partners in Solheim Cup play. Their styles were so totally different that they thought of themselves as the odd couple. Laura's role model was always Nancy Lopez. Nancy told me that she loved playing with Laura but simply couldn't watch her tee off because that meant that Nancy would try to out-hit her, and that was not going to happen. She went on to say she has great regard for Laura's sportsmanship, and I quote, Laura is one of my favorites of all time, end quote. Let me close with this: With a fervent prayer that I am not breaching any royal protocol. With apologies to Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein for borrowing a few lyrics from one of their great songs from South Pacific, I simply cannot think of a better way to conclude this tribute. (Singing) There is nothing like this Dame, nothing in the world. There is nothing you can name that is anything like this Dame. (End singing) I am available for bookings. I am just keenly honored to be here tonight, to be with all of you and all of my good friends in such a great outpouring of the golf world. Unfortunately, Laura was not able to get here in spite of every effort, simply because this weekend she competed in the Women's Open, U.S. Open, at Lancaster Country Club, and she did quite well, made the cut, played well, then the airlines failed to cooperate despite every effort by her and the Hall of Fame personnel, and just didn't make it. But I know exactly what she would want me to say beyond what I said in those few words you just heard, and that is that she is deeply honored, especially as a Brit, to be included in this incredible organization, and especially I know she would want me to congratulate David and Mark and the Tillinghast family as part of her pledge class. I can't imagine that she would be any more comfortable with any group than with those three people. I also want to take the opportunity to say that this is one of the finest young women that I have ever known. When I joined the LPGA as its Commissioner in 1990, I had five years of really wonderful experiences, most of all getting to know these young women and becoming friends with them and understanding so much more about them than I had before. When I retired at the end of '95, at my retirement party, I remember saying, I want you gals to know that I stand here now as the world's only Republican, gray-haired, 65-year-old feminist, and I still feel that way. If you had to go to the top of the list of people that you remember, it would be Laura. Warm, gracious, worlds of fun, and a real, real tribute to her organization. I think that the Hall of Fame is exactly where she belongs, and we were a little worried that perhaps Laura wouldn't be able to make it because things happen, so she did a message just in case it would happen from Lancaster, PA, and we have it for you.

LAURA DAVIES: Good evening, everybody. First of all, a massive apology for not being there today. Obviously something I really did not want to miss, but circumstances have put us in this position. A lot of thank yous. It's my chance really to thank everybody that's helped me get to this position after 31 years of traveling the road, and Sir Charlie Mechem has to be the first guy I thank because the presentation he's done for me today in presenting me, if you will, he's a great friend. I've known Charlie for a very long time, and when I was asked who I would like to do this, there was no real choice. He was great friends with my dad when my dad was around and on Tour, and I think they spoke a little bit about the Hall of Fame and it's something my dad always wanted for me. I know he's not here with us, but I know he'd be very proud and very pleased that Charlie was the one who'd introduced me tonight. Lots of other thank yous. My family obviously, my brother Tony, my stepdad Mike, mother Rita. The early days, in the amateur days they were shuttling me around all over the country in England, getting me to all the tournaments, and without that start and the way they supported me, they never put pressure on me, they always just supported me, so I want to thank Rita, Mike and Tony for all that time all those years ago. We never knew we'd be here now. A bit scary but we made it. To all my other friends and family who are not only in the audience tonight but also watching on TV. I'll be watching on TV, as well, I guess, but thank you for all your support. Again, no one ever put any pressure on me and I think that's why I've been lucky enough to last this long, because it's just been support and confidence building from everybody, and I really appreciate everything they've all done. On to my caddies now, I know there's a few there. If I'm delayed, a lot of them will be delayed as well, so they won't be there, but them who have come up, I've been on Tour 31 years, as I said, and they've been great. They've not just been my caddies, they've been my friends. I spend time with them off Tour, and when I invited them all, I didn't expect anyone to come. I thought they'd all just say no, I want to do something else, but a lot of them wanted to be there, and that's a really nice thing for me, so yes, I do appreciate all their support and all their great numbers and not such good green reading on some of their cases but we've done well on the course over the years, so again, a massive thank you. And to the Hall of Fame people, not something I enjoy, this side of the golf. I like to be the center of attention on the course, not off the course, but they've made things easy for me. I went to see the Hall of Fame. I think it's the first time I really appreciated how important the whole thing was, seeing Gary Player's exhibition with his four majors and knowing I'm now going to be a part of that is a lovely thing. I just want to thank Brody and all of his team and everyone there, Jack for making this process so easy for me and something I'm not that comfortable with. And I suppose the last thank you is to any of the golf fans out there who have supported me as I walked down the fairways all over the world, and they've been absolutely brilliant. I've never had -- I've had a few people shout nasty things at me over the years but probably deserved them for being miserable and grumpy on the course, but overall I've had unbelievable support. It's just a chance to thank everybody that helped me get to this position. To David, to Mark O'Meara and Mr. Tillinghast, it's great to be going into the Hall of Fame with you in the Class of 2015. Such great professionals. It's an honor to be put into the Hall of Fame with you guys. I hope you all have a wonderful evening, and again, sorry I'm not there.

CHARLIE MECHEM: Before I leave the mic, I have one regret and unexpected opportunity. The regret is I hoped when they strapped this little lapel mic on that I would sound like John Hopkins. There's a patent there somewhere to make somebody sound like a Brit. The opportunity is one I really never expected to have. I used to have a recurring dream that some day I would be in the Golf Hall of Fame, but then I'd wake up and I'd say to myself, good God, Charlie, the only way you'll ever get into the Golf Hall of Fame is to steal the trophy, so Laura, this is for you (grabs trophy).

TIM FINCHEM: (Take out commissioner) thank you, and good evening. I can report that Charlie Mechem did not leave the building with the trophy. We stopped him. I'm certainly honored to be here in this special place, very special place this week, and I certainly want to thank Peter Dawson and the championship committee for paving the way for this to happen. I'm doubly honored because I have the opportunity to make a couple of brief remarks in the presence of so many great Hall-of-Famers, in addition to our class this year, which is outstanding in Dame Laura, David and Mark, it's the great players of the game who really impact everything we do in golf. If you look back in time at where golf has come from and how it's grown and how it's popularized, you simply point to what these folks have done during their careers, and that's what made it happen. And as was said earlier, starting with Arnold Palmer but with everybody else, and when Dame Laura was winning golf tournaments all the time, young gals were watching her and thinking, I can do that. And when David and Mark were winning major championships, young players were thinking, I can do that. And over time, it is the actions on and off the golf course of the great players who have stimulated the interest to play the game, and in my judgment have impacted the character of those people who follow the game. So our job as administrators is to come behind that and try to use what we know about these great players to build interest and grow the game, and the Hall of Fame is part of that. The Hall of Fame in the modern era has focused even more on the television broadcast digital side of the equation to recognize the great accomplishments of these players and convey it to primarily young people and others around the globe. The folks that make that happen are the golf organizations, and I just want to take a minute to thank those who have been part of this since 1996 during this what we call the modern era of the Hall of Fame, but in particular it was referenced earlier that two of my peers in that effort over the years are stepping aside this year. One is Peter Dawson, who has been the CEO and Chief Executive of the R&A for the last 16 years, and the other is George O'Grady, who I met at the Ryder Cup in 1989, and whose friend I have been ever since. During the evolution of the Hall of Fame, some other things happened. The golf organizations got together on a new structure for the World Golf Rankings. They got together on a new structure to bring golf into the Olympics. They got together on a new structure to try to grow the game under the auspices of the World Golf Foundation. And Peter and George have been pillars of leadership during that period, and I would just like us to give a huge round of applause to these two gentlemen who will be stepping away from their current jobs. We hope they're going to be staying in the game for a long period of time for the work they've done to bring us to this point. Thank you very much.

DAVID MARR: Mark O'Meara makes friends easily, and when you are a boy who have lived in more than a half a dozen states in your first dozen years, that's a handy skill to develop. In the lonely hours and days between forging relationships, Mark developed an affinity for individual pursuits, for his fishing, then golf. By the time the family settled in a California home, conveniently overlooking the Mission Vallejo Country Club, Mark was just entering his teens. His parents Bob and Nelda weren't particularly avid golfers, which was a good thing. Otherwise Nelda might have noticed her golf clubs missing from the garage every afternoon as Mark disappeared to the course and lost himself in the solitude. Deference and humility helped the boy make friends but probably hurt the budding golfer in terms of renown. At every level in the game, however, he showed that nice guys don't always finish last. In 1979, he served notice to the game's golden boys with a resounding 8 & 7 victory at the U.S. Amateur over defending champion John Cook. After joining the PGA TOUR, his nomadic life continued, but initially the victories were slow to follow. In 1984, however, Mark found his stride. A five-shot win in Milwaukee proved something of an omen. Not only was it his first on TOUR, but the runner-up was a major champion, Tom Watson. In fact, 10 of his 16 TOUR wins saw major champions as runners up. Less than five months later, another trend developed. Mark O'Meara won at Pebble Beach. Now, a single win at America's most treasured venue would be enough to make any golfer's dream come true. Mark did it five times. Over the next four years, Mark's journey expanded. He wouldn't win on the PGA TOUR during that period, but he established himself on the international stage, winning four more times on four different continents. The '90s were good to Mark O'Meara, and the victories and friendships kept on coming. He won 12 PGA TOUR events, had five multiple-win seasons, and in the last half of the decade, represented the United States on winning Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, Alfred Dunhill Cup and World Cup teams. Along the way, he mentored some budding stars, developing an especially close relationship with a future member of this hall, during Tiger Woods' more formative years. Still at home and abroad, the genial pro was more publicized for his demeanor and those friendships than his considerable win total. In 1998, he put an end to all that. In his first major after turning 41 years old, Mark birdied three of his final four holes at Augusta to win the Masters on his record 15th attempt. That win put Mark in golf's upper echelon, but three months later, he went into the stratosphere by winning golf's oldest and most hallowed hardware, the Claret Jug. Mark's win at Royal Birkdale made him only the 15th golfer in history to win two majors in a calendar year, breaking Ben Hogan's mark as the oldest to do so. If winning majors as an amateur and PGA TOUR player weren't enough, he added another on the Champions Tour, joining only Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer in this Hall as players with major victories at all age levels. Mark has faced good times and bad with honesty, integrity and hard work, and he has been rewarded in life with two fantastic children, a wonderful new marriage, and a terrific stepson, and that's the most important thing, really, because family has always been Mark's real treasure. If you've ever had the chance to ask him about his favorite moment in golf, it wasn't one of his wins in bold typeface or a dramatic charge. It was the 1990 AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. That week was most special to Mark because of his amateur partner, as he won walking stride for stride with his dad, Big Bob, at America's most beautiful venue. I've asked Mark a few times to describe his game, and he's responded the same way every time. He'd say he was a nice player, maybe even a good one, but not great. Jack and Arnold, now, they're great players. Well, when Mark O'Meara gets to his locker at the Hall, he can look five to his left and see the name Nicklaus, four to his right and he'll see the name Palmer. Because you see, nice players don't win 16 PGA TOUR events and more than 30 times on five different continents. Good players don't win majors at every level, including two in one year. Only great ones do. So the young boy from Goldsboro, by way of Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Mission Vallejo, Orlando, Park City and Houston has finally found his home, here among the greatest players who ever lived, the humble son of a salesman, has found the place he belongs forever, and the Hall is greater for his inclusion. Welcoming into its ranks another great golfer and gentleman, Mark O'Meara. Some things are certainly well worth waiting for and that Mark O'Meara is inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame at this magical place in this wonderful class can only be described as perfectly fitting. For almost a decade, I was part of the voting process and when that selection criteria and everything changed, I wondered what it would be like. Well, this class, 2015, is exceptional even by the standards put forth by the World Golf Hall of Fame. You have A.W. Tillinghast who came to this country, to this town, and then went back to mine and changed the landscape of golf, figuratively and literally. You have two wonderful players who I grew up watching all of their great shots, Dame Laura Davies and David Graham. And what about the last inductee? Well, if you're lucky enough to call Mark O'Meara your friend, you are lucky enough indeed. He's a true friend of the game, and also he's my friend and a friend of so many people out there and in this Hall right now, and now he rightfully takes his place in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Ladies and gentlemen, Mark O'Meara.

MARK O'MEARA: Well, thank you, everyone. David, I can't thank you enough for that beautiful introduction. You know, it's just an incredible evening. For me to finally at this moment in my life, at 58 years of age, to be recognized. I want to thank the World Golf Hall of Fame members for their vote of confidence, and certainly to Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Annika Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez for their vote, because as David pointed out earlier, and I know Laura feels this way and certainly the Tillinghast family, to have their vote of confidence to be this year's class of inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame, it's just an amazing thing. To my family, my friends, my family, as David pointed out, they mean so much to me. They've been my inspiration, they've been my guide. As a young man moving around the country, as David pointed out, I think I lived in nine different states by the time I turned 13. My dad, being a furniture salesman in an industry where he was always being flushed around, and mom would get all the kids in the station wagon, and we'd pretty much go from town to town. When I moved to Southern California in 1969 into a little town called Mission Vallejo -- well, back then it was a little town. There was only about 13,000 people, and I remember moving into our house, and I looked down and I saw a golf course down there. It was a private, semi-private club called Mission Vallejo Country Club, and I don't know why I did this, but for some reason I went in, and I think when you get shuttled around a lot as a young person, sometimes it's very difficult to make new friends, and all of a sudden for some reason I got my mom's set of clubs down to the garage, and I went down to the course, tried not to get in the way, tried to help the pro by picking up the baskets on the range, and back then you know necessarily junior golfers aren't always necessarily that welcomed out there on the golf course, but for some reason I fell in love with the game of golf. It kind of really became my passion, and not only my passion, it became my friend, and luckily for me, there was a lot of other guys and some high school players that were down there. We all became friends, and we created a bond, and back in that era, necessarily 1969, '70, '71, golf necessarily wasn't that cool a sport to be playing. But for me, all of a sudden I found a game that not only taught me a lot about myself, but it taught me a lot about life, and as I progressed and played high school golf, we got a little bit better every year, went off to college. I remember there was an opportunity to go to a couple other different colleges as I was growing up, but to be honest, I really wasn't ready to leave home, and I told my father and my mother, I think they wanted me to maybe go off, but in a roundabout way I was a little bit scared to leave home at that time. And so I stayed around town, played college golf at Long Beach State, got a little bit better every year. I had my moments, we all do in this great game of golf. But fortunately for me at the end of my college career, kind of about 22, I played in the U.S. Amateur. They showed it on the video earlier, in 1979 at Canterbury in Cleveland, Ohio, drove my little Volkswagen Bug down to Cleveland from Chicago. My mom and dad were living in Chicago. I think my mother gave me like $200, I said, mom, $200, really? I've got to be there all week. She goes, oh, don't worry, you probably won't be there very long. Your dad, you know, he's coming in -- if you play well, we'll probably be in, so lo and behold I got into the match play, played with some wonderful players. It was a great field that year in 1979, and lo and behold I got into the finals against John Cook, John being the defending U.S. Amateur champion, I'm this kid from Southern California playing the Ohio boy in his backyard basically there in Cleveland at Canterbury, and we got out there and we started playing, and I'm thinking, boy, I know I've got to play one shot at a time, but I think I've got to use this to my advantage. I've got to really realize that there's more pressure on John Cook than there is on me. So we get out there and we start playing, and of course I'm 3 down after five holes. Looks like I'm not going to be faring too well, and luckily I kind of turned it around a little bit and I won 8 & 7, but I never thought about winning until I was on the 9th hole, which was our 27th hole, and I was 8 up with basically 10 holes to go, and it looked like -- I'm thinking, if I lose the U.S. Amateur being 8 up with 10 holes to go, this is going to be the worst defeat and collapse in the history of U.S. Amateur championship history. I said, well, Mark, don't get ahead of yourself, just hang in there. So sure enough, I ended up winning the 11th hole with a birdie at 8 & 7, and John was an incredible fellow competitor, he still is today. We're both at that same age playing the Champions Tour, and then after that it was like, okay, yeah, the U.S. Amateur, that's really neat. That gets you in the Masters, it gets you in the U.S. Open, and the Open Championship, and I thought, wow, this is going to be amazing. So I certainly stayed amateur. I went to Augusta National in 1980 as the U.S. Amateur champion. Trust me, I was way out of my element. I mean, when I teed off, I just didn't want to kill anybody out there on the golf course. Somehow, some way, I was lucky enough I was paired with Fuzzy Zoeller. I made a par on the first hole. I actually looked at the program, I think I shot 80-81, something like that, not very good. And I remember leaving Friday driving out of Magnolia Lane with my father by my side, and he looked over and he goes, Mark, are you okay. I said, why? He goes, well, I know you're disappointed. It wasn't a great day out there for two days, and you didn't play as well as you would have liked, and I looked over at my father, and I said, you know, dad, I've got to tell you a couple things. He goes, what's that? I go, No. 1, no matter what happens in my life going forward, at least I got to play in the Masters one time. I said, No. 2, you know what, I'm going to learn from this experience, and hopefully some day if I ever make it as a professional golfer, some day, God willing, I may come back and play Augusta again. Well, you know what, I think it was, wow, almost 20 years later, something like that, there I was at 41 years of age on the 18th green on Sunday afternoon in the final group to make the putt that you saw earlier. Trust me, I had no idea, and I don't think anybody else in my family or my friends thought that that could possibly happen. But I made it, it went in, and now I'm certainly thrilled that I had the opportunity at that time to be a Masters champion. I get to sit at the dinner every Tuesday night with Mr. Palmer, Mr. Nicklaus, all the greats. And in '99 when I hosted the dinner, every living Masters champion came to that dinner that year. I think they realized, wait a minute, this is pretty cool. Mark gets to pick up the check, and you know what, not bad. But it's really neat because that special bond at Augusta National and the Masters, I have locker room up there, when they introduce me and they brought me into the locker room, I share a locker with Gene Sarazen. I mean, seriously, a kid from Southern California that used to pick up the driving range, that tried to not get in trouble, that stood on putting greens as a lot of players out here that are playing right now and Hall of Fame members, dreaming of the day to have a putt to win the Masters or win the U.S. Open, and you know what, that happened for me, so I felt very fortunate and very blessed. Later that year, I come over to Scotland and England. I'm playing in the Open Championship at Birkdale, and I remember on the last day I was paired with Jim Furyk, and we were on the putting green before we teed off on Sunday, and in the final group I believe it was Jesper Parnevik and Brian Watts. I remember Jesper coming over to me on the putting green in front of the clubhouse at Royal Birkdale, saying hey Mark, I have a question to ask you. I say sure Jesper. What is it? Do you feel like a little different because you've won the Masters in April? I said, well, no, to be fair, Jesper, I'm just as nervous as all of us. We're all trying to win. That's part of the game. I said good luck to him all went out there and played, and we stood on the 18th green after I made a birdie putt on the 71th hole where I had about a 14-footer, and I looked up at the left-hand, and I had heard the roars, I knew what Tiger was doing, he had posted 1-over and I heard the roar of Justin Rose hit an unbelievable pitch shot. I didn't' know it at the time, but I heard the roar of him holing his chip for a birdie on the 18th hole, and we've gone on to see what Justin Rose has done in the game of golf. But I remember very clearly standing on the 18th green and the R&A asked me wait to see what Brian Watts does because he was even par, I had posted even par, he was out on the left side of the fairway. I said, obviously if he pars the hole it's going to be a playoff. If he makes a birdie, he wins. If he makes a bogey, you win. So we stood on the side of the green, and I said I want to go be with my family, and I was sitting there with my son Shaun, and Brian Watts had hit it just in the front left bunker. Had a very difficult lie, tough bunker shot. And I remember Shaun at the time was about nine years old and he looked up at his dad and said, dad, you're going to win, and I remember looking back at Shaun, and I said, hey, Shaun, you can't think that way. He's like, what do you mean? I said, you always have to expect that your opponent is going to do something really, really well, and I'm saying this -- I don't know why I'm saying it but I'm really? As I'm talking to Sean, Brian Watts gets in the bunker and he hits this incredible bunker shot out, almost holes it, hits it like this far from the hole, right? My son looks at me and he said how did you know he was going to do that? I said, Sean, I didn't, but now we've got to go into a playoff, so I've got to be prepared. Well, fortunately I obviously won in the playoff. I was able to hoist the Claret Jug, and my passion for links golf, the fact that the World Golf Hall of Fame is being conducted here at Younger Hall at St. Andrews the week of The Open Championship just means even that much more, and for the Hall of Fame members that have come tonight and attend and my fellow professionals that are also here that have come attend, have attained to become better pros and to try to hopefully some day win those major championships or have the dream come true of also having this opportunity to someday be a World Golf Hall of Fame member, I wish you all the best. And also I just want to point out something. There's been so many people that have had an impact on my life, and to be able to thank all of them would be impossible. But the people that know that they've had an impact in my life, I want them to know that it hasn't gone unnoticed, and I also want to reach out to certainly the instructors that I've had, Hank Haney obviously changed my life. Found him on the range at Pinehurst, North Carolina, nobody knew who Hank Haney was. They kind of had a rough idea of who maybe Mark O'Meara was, because I was rookie of the year in 1981 on the PGA TOUR, but he came to me, helped me understand that my swing was not quite right, promised me that if we worked on all this stuff -- which it really didn't work out so much right away -- but I remember hitting balls at Pinehurst on the range and Hank was behind me, it would be snowing out, and no one would be around and he'd say, you've got to get more rounded, Mark, your swing is too upright, and I'm topping them. I'm literally topping them and he said, that's great, that's good, and I'm like, no, and I'm a pro, I've got to go make a living. I can't just hit toppers and grounders all day. Come on, Hank. And I'd get mad and I'd maybe wing my club out there on the range and the next thing you know all my clubs are laying out there on the golf range, and he looks at me, and he goes, hey, we've got the umbrella here. Either that or we're going to go back in and start getting some clubs. So lo and behold Hank helped me a lot. In '83 I struggled with the changes, but it started coming to fruition in '84. I started to play better. I had multiple top 10 finishes and finally won my first tournament in 1984 playing with Tom Watson on Saturday and Sunday at Milwaukee, and it was great because Tom Watson has always been an inspiration to me, incredible competitor. I've played with him on Ryder Cup teams, and I finished actually second to him on the Money List in 1984, so I came a long way. But the fact of the matter is that golf is by far the greatest game, and the reason why I say it's the greatest game, it's because of the people that are in this room. Regardless if you're a great professional or even a good professional, if you're a high handicapped amateur or a low handicapped amateur, the game of golf brings us all together. It teaches you respect and honesty and dignity, and the friendships you make are tremendous. They go unnoticed. You keep them for life, those memories. I just want to end on one little thing. In 1985 after I won the Bing Crosby, I was able to surprise my dad in 1986 and invite him to play with me. In '86 I brought my dad out and my mom out, we played together, he made the cut -- because I remember many times playing with Jack Lemmon, and unfortunately Jack Lemmon never made the cut, but I wanted him so badly to make the cut, so my father and I made the cut. We played all four days, and then lo and behold a few years went by and in 1990 I was able to win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am again, and I thought it would be really neat to bring my father back, and so in 1991 I had my dad come and play with me, and as you saw on the tape there what was special about it was not only that my father and I made the cut, but on Sunday I was in the final group, I was leading the tournament, playing alongside my father. Now, there's not many sports that you can have a moment like that, and distinctly coming down the stretch, because my dad was obviously having a blast with the moment because he was definitely that type of an individual, but I remember a couple short moments. On 14, the par-5, and I was up on the green, I had a 12-footer for birdie, and my dad hit it -- he gets obviously a shot on the hole, he's short of the green, it rolls back down off the front of the green on that very severe 14th hole at Pebble Beach, and so he tries to hit some kind of a miracle flop shot, but granted, he was a 16 handicap at the time. Of course he chili dipped it, and then it came back between his feet and then he hit it again and it went up and came back down between his feet again, and I kind of looked over at my dad, and said, it's OK. I've got you covered here. It's fine. You know, you only get one shot here. And then he paused for a second and he looked up, and he goes, hey, Mark, I said yeah dad, what's that? And he was loud enough and he said do you see all these people around the green here? I said, yes, sir, what do you mean by that? He said, these people can't relate to the way you play golf. They totally relate to the way I play golf. So we come to the last hole, and I have to make a par to win the tournament, and I always let my father hit first, and back in those days, earlier days, everybody played from kind of the same tees, and of course I was playing with Rocco Mediate and his partner, so they hit, and I told my dad, OK dad, go ahead. My dad used to hit it a little straight, maybe a little fade. My dad proceeded to tee his ball up and he hits this low snap hook right into the Pacific ocean. So he bends down to pick up his tee, and he looks over, and he goes, wow, that wasn't a good time to hit one like that, was it? I'm like, dad, no, don't worry about it, just kind of move right over here, and I just kind of basically hold on for dear life and luckily I hit it down the middle towards the pine trees and we're walking off the tee and pops comes over and goes what do you want me to do? I said all I've got to do is make a par on this final hole and I win the tournament. If you're asking me my advice, I would tell you to go ahead, pick up, put your ball in your pocket and walk down the 18th hole. The sun is out. The fans are there. The gallery is looking. It's on national TV, CBS. I said, just take it all in. He kind of looks over, and he goes, you know what, Mark, that's the best damned advice you've given me all week. In closing I just want to say it's an amazing honor. I want to congratulate David Graham, a very dear friend of mine. Obviously Laura Davies, I know she's disappointed because I know she wanted to be here for this special moment, and to the Tillinghast family. To be included among these three great people to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2015, an amazing honor. Thank you so much for your passion and love of the game. Thank you, everyone.
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