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November 12, 2007
ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA
DAN HICKS: Our first inductee tonight is in the Lifetime Achievement Category. He is recognized as one of the fathers of American golf architecture and was directly influenced by some of those venerable forefathers of the game.
In 1872 at the age of 16 Charles Blair MacDonald traveled from his home in Chicago, Illinois, to Scotland to live with his grandfather where he finished his education at the University of St. Andrews. His grandfather was also a member of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, and it wasn't one day after CB's arrival in the old city that young Charles was introduced to a guy by the name of Old Tom Morris.
Tutored by the master, he became good enough at the game to play matches on the Old Course. Two years at St. Andrews was more than enough to arm MacDonald with a solid game of golf, a deep appreciation for the sport and a firm foundation on which to build the game right here in America.
His zeal emerged in 1892 when he led the formation of the Chicago Golf Club, and a year later he expanded its nine hole track into the first 18-hole course in the U.S. His National Golf Links of America on Long Island is still regarded as one of the top courses in this country, and it was his leadership that brought five leading U.S. golf clubs together back in 1894 to form the Amateur Golf Association, which later became the USGA.
The USGA has grown from the time of CB MacDonald to be sure to become the governing body for the golf in the United States, conducting 19 professional and amateur championships and supporting the First Tee and other youth golf initiatives. Please welcome in his 19th year as the executive director of the USGA, Mr. David Fay.
DAVID FAY: Thank you very much. Good evening. Charles Blair MacDonald was born in the shadow of Niagara Falls, and that might tell you something about him, because like the great falls, CB was a source of enormous energy, relentless, forceful and loud.
The late golf writer Charlie Price wrote of him, he was so rugged in his thinking that he probably wore tweed knickerbockers without any underwear. We can only hope that that was an exaggeration, or maybe not.
But it's no exaggeration to say that MacDonald more than anything else shaped the early days of American golf. He insisted that this new game in his young innovative country remain faithful to its centuries-old Scottish customs and form, and it's no exaggeration to say that if it weren't for him, golf in America could have wandered off in any direction, becoming perhaps something dissimilar like baseball and cricket. Now, in the case of golf, that would not have been a good thing. I'm sorry for those who like cricket, but I'm a lover of the game of golf.
To continue, by taking his stand, MacDonald set the marker for making the game of golf a global game with shared values, whether you're playing it in St. Andrews, Sydney, Syracuse or Seoul.
It's factual to say of MacDonald that he was the driving force behind the creation of the United States Golf Association, and that he was the first United States Amateur champion and that he was the first great American golf course architect. But he was so much more.
He came along when American golf needed him most, ensuring that the game started out on the right path and that it stayed there.
Induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame is an exclusive honor, and it's reassuring to know that the life's work of a 19th century man, whose influence on our game remains very much alive today, is not forgotten.
Charles Blair MacDonald, like each of the other five members of the class of 2007, deserves his place in the Hall of Fame, and I feel privileged to represent him. And on behalf of his family, represented here tonight by his grandson Robert Young, thank you.
DAN HICKS: Born in 1920, young Kel Nagle first played golf on the New South Wales coast, and within a few years he became an assistant professional and earned a reputation as a long ball hitter. After a stint in World War II he returned to win the first of his record six Australian PGA Championship titles. In addition to this, his career is filled with other achievements that have stood the test of time, seven New Zealand Opens, seven New Zealand PGA Championships. I think he had New Zealand covered. World Cup victories with fellow Aussie and Hall of Fame member Peter Thomson, and a total of more than 61 victories in Australasia. How's that for a resumé?
But one of the highlights of his career took him 10,000 miles away, to the home of golf, and it was 1960, and a young hotshot, who just happens to be in our audience tonight, talking about you, Arnie, this young hotshot was expected to take the Claret Jug. But 39-year-old Nagle, who had never before finished in the Top 10 of a major championship, held off the up-and-comer here, and won the centenary Open Championship on the final hole of the final round.
He says of that day, all he can remember is the thunderous applause that he received. Now, Kel will celebrate his 87th birthday on December 21st, and thanks to our friends at the PGA TOUR of Australasia and Fox Sports of Australasia we have a message from Kel that we would like to share with you now.
KEL NAGLE: Hi, I'm Kel Nagle, and I'm sorry that I can't be with you tonight. But I hope that you all have a fantastic evening.
I'd like to thank the board of governors for giving me an invitation and induction into the Hall of Fame. It's a fabulous thrill for me, and I really appreciate it. I'd like to thank all those that voted for me, as well.
I'd like to thank Peter Hines, and with the help of Bruce, my son, he's been unbelievable with what he's been through, and I really appreciate it.
I really had a bit of a ball with photographs and newspaper cuttings, so we've really had a great time getting this all together. I'd like to -- I'm proud that I'm inducted with Greg Norman and Peter Thomson, Karrie Webb. My best years probably were from '59 through '65 with the British Open. It was a fantastic thrill for me, really, because I didn't give myself much chance, although I was playing well in Ireland, that's just how it worked out.
And I got invitations to play in tournaments all over the place, and it was a tremendous thrill, really, for me at that stage of my life to win. So I've really enjoyed the journey. It's one of those things that later in life it's very pleasing to look back on all the friendships that I've made, the places that I've been to, and also to join people like Jack Nicklaus. I know Jack very well and his wife Barbara, and Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, all those fellows, and I'm honored to think that they've put me up in that bracket.
It's been a great trip for me. I could never afford to have gone to all these places to play golf, the places that I've been to, nearly all over the world, just playing golf. So I really enjoyed the journey.
DAN HICKS: I'm sure when Kel sees tonight's show he'll appreciate that warm response. Well done by Kel Nagle.
Also on December 15th he will receive his inductee crystal from Jack Peter, the chief operating officer of the Hall of Fame at the Australian Golf Writers Association annual dinner in Sydney.
So from St. Augustine to Down Under, let's congratulate Kel Nagle one more time.
So far all roads seem to lead to or from St. Andrews. That seems to be the theme tonight. Another tremendous landmark event occurred in August of this past year when the ladies played their first professional championship event on the old course at St. Andrews. It is now my pleasure to introduce to you the woman at the helm of the LPGA, who at each turn is taking it to new heights. Please welcome the commissioner of the LPGA Tour, Carolyn Bivens.
CAROLYN BIVENS: It's always such a special occasion to gather here at the World Golf Hall of Fame to celebrate the leaders, the pioneers, and The Legends of our game. The individuals who comprise the induction class of 2007 represent the very best of sport, just as the classes which have come before them.
There is, however, something different about tonight, an element which is especially gratifying for the LPGA. We can directly trace the recent global strength of golf to the remarkable ascent of a woman whom we are honoring with induction tonight, a woman who opened a new world to the LPGA and helped usher in a new era of worldwide growth. A decade ago Se Ri Pak earned her way onto the LPGA, taking that long journey from South Korea to the U.S. She was truly a pioneer, one of the first South Korean women to compete full-time on the LPGA and certainly the first from her country to capture the imagination of golf fans worldwide and to inspire a generation of young South Korean girls who saw the opportunity for a life very different than the one planned for them.
Today Se Ri is one of 45 South Koreans and one of 117 international players from 26 different countries competing at the highest level of women's golf. That long journey has paid off with players like Se Ri serving as bridges that link many nations of golf.
The bridge metaphor is even more appropriate this year, as our women crossed the famed Swilken Bridge at the Old Course at St. Andrews for the first time ever as professionals. The winner that weekend was the top player in the world, Lorena Ochoa, who proudly represents her home country of Mexico. Hall of Fame member Louise Suggs, an LPGA founder, celebrated her 84th birthday and sat in the Royal & Ancient Golf Club watching as Lorena won her first major at this storied course. Who says dreams don't come true?
As one of the most universally admired superstars in all of sports, Lorena's popularity is more proof that we are breaking down barriers and that the LPGA's global appeal is greater than ever. I witnessed this firsthand over the last few weeks crossing the globe for three unforgettable tournaments in Asia.
Not only has this year's play injected a new enthusiasm into our sport, but it's also signified the arrival of a new generation of stars. They're dedicated to their sport, but they also understand the importance of being role models and giving back to the game and to the fans who sponsor and support them. And that's why we're so proud to gather at the World Golf Hall of Fame, which brings together people from disparate backgrounds in celebration of the global nature of this great game.
Great golf performances and players who are of very strong character, on behalf of the 1,700 members of the LPGA, we congratulate all of the inductees this evening and thank you for all that you've contributed and all that you continue to do for this great game.
Now, I want to welcome a Hall of Fame member who also opened a new world to the LPGA, ushered in a new era of worldwide growth and ignited interest, excitement and awareness for the LPGA. She represents the best of the best, wins, awards, accolades, she's earned many. But she also serves as a role model and mentor for young golfers just starting out. She continues to entertain fans at Tour stops all around the world and is wildly passionate about the LPGA. Her smile shines brightly everywhere she goes. Please join me in welcoming Nancy Lopez.
NANCY LOPEZ: Thank you very much. Good evening, everyone. I am very excited to be here this evening to present Se Ri Pak as a 2007 LPGA inductee. At the age of 14, Se Ri Pak decided she would try out the game of golf. Five years later, she turned professional. Yeah, it took her all of five years to get the hang of it enough to play at sports' highest level.
Over the next two years she played 14 events on the Korean LPGA Tour. She won six times and finished second another seven times, all of this before her 20th birthday. So we are truly in the presence of a phenomenon here tonight.
The following year, 1998, Se Ri joined the LPGA Tour full-time and won two majors, including a 20-hole playoff, the longest in women's professional golf history, to capture the U.S. Women's Open. I was there because I missed the cut and I watched her play. She was great.
Se Ri was truly the leader of the pack that year and was a near unanimous selection as Rookie of the Year, and that was just the beginning.
When I first met Se Ri she was 20 years old. I kind of felt like she was like a daughter to me. She was very curious, very young, and she had a lot of questions for me. We became very good friends. I got to spend time with her mother and her father and her sisters. We went out to eat dinner a lot, and when I went to Korea she wanted to teach me to eat kimchee, which is a spicy cabbage, and even though I'm Mexican American I don't like too spicy things.
Se Ri is such a great competitor. All the times I wanted to practice, I always wanted to play with her. We would go out there and play golf together. It was me and Lorie Kane and Se Ri, and we would play $5 closest to the hole and $5 birdies. We knew we could beat Se Ri in that department maybe, but she says, why don't we play $5 longest drive. Of course we said no way. She was going to beat us with that one.
She has really paved the way for all the Korean women that have come over here to the United States to play on the LPGA Tour. With 24 victories to date, five major championships, in 1998, 2002 and 2006 McDonald's LPGA Championship, the 1998 U.S. Women's Open, and the 2001 Weetabix Women's British Open. Also in 2003 Se Ri became the first woman in 58 years to make the cut in a men's golf tournament when she played in the SBS Super Tournament on the Korean PGA TOUR. In fact, not only did she make the cut, she finished tenth and was in contention to win for the first three days.
When she shot to stardom by winning two majors in her rookie year in 1998, Korean women had made almost no impact on the LPGA Tour. But in 1997 the Women's Tour had no South Korean members. Now there are 45, and another 35 listed on the developmental Futures Tour.
I was really happy when Se Ri asked me to be here tonight to induct her into the World Golf Hall of Fame, and I'm very, very proud of her. She's got a lot of class and a lot of style, and I wish her the best of luck. Ms. Se Ri Pak.
SE RI PAK: I'm already so nervous to say any words. Nancy just said, don't be too nervous. I am very much right now.
Thank you very much for being here, all my family and friends and fans here. I'm very honored to be standing right here at this moment, and probably this is one of my -- the night I had always dreamed about. When I'm starting golf, basically not really interested in starting golf because my dad was always a great athlete, but he's the one who put me into playing golf, but I still don't like golf anyway. I went to one of the junior tournaments, and it was kind of interesting to see other great players, and someone introduced the best player to me. I had a little jealousy about it, and then I liked to be out there for someone to recognize me as famous.
After that I tell my dad, I said, I'm probably going to start playing golf. I really like to play. And since that we really, really worked hard, and I want to be the best in the world of the ladies golfers. That's how I look forward to Nancy, look forward to Beth, and so many great number of players, especially those on the LPGA Tour. Every one is basically be my idols.
So I practice every single day, every single hours. I train for it and travel to the U.S, and it ended up right at this moment, basically I don't think I can make it. But my parents tell me when you dream it, your dreams make it big. So I always thought maybe I make it too big. But I just never think I can make it. But I'm here tonight.
This is probably the best night I've ever, ever had, being as World Golf Hall of Fame new member I'm a rookie again. But I like being a rookie. I feel great about it. Ten years ago I was a rookie, and now again, ten years after, a rookie again. That feels great.
Everybody is saying to me that you're the youngest member of the Hall of Fame, but I don't know why they say that, but I know why, I am the youngest. I was very excited about it because right now on the LPGA it makes me look old. So that feels really, really bad. But now it feels great to be out here.
I'm just kidding.
But I don't think I can be here to say thanks to every each one of my whole career, but I'd like to say thanks to my family and my sponsor and my friends out here. Thank you very much. I'm very honored to be here tonight. Thank you very much. Have a great night.
DAN HICKS: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the chairman of the World Golf Foundation, as well as the commissioner of the PGA TOUR, Mr. Tim Finchem.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Thank you, Dan. Good evening, everyone. Those of you who have been here for many years know how nice it is to have warm conditions for our ceremony.
Before I get started here, and I'm going to be brief, I would like to recognize a special friend who is with us tonight, Dick Ferris retired today as chairman and member of our policy board of the last two decades. He's been a tremendous leader for our organization, the PGA TOUR, and we're delighted he's here with us tonight with his wife Kelsey, and I'd like for him to stand and be recognized, Dick Ferris.
I also would like to thank all of you who have traveled such distances to be part of the ceremony tonight, and in particular I know we have all of the PGA TOUR events here for meetings the next two days, and 90 percent of you are here tonight, so a special thank you for being here, as well.
Jack Peter and his team have done such a fine job for the Hall of Fame over the years, especially the last several years, this afternoon opening the new Nicklaus exhibit. Each year it gets better than the year before. This year over 750,000 people will go through the Hall of Fame, and I just wanted to take a minute and thank Jack, our chief operating officer, and all of his team, not just the staff but also the volunteers who come together to make this place so special. Jack, thank you very, very much.
Let me on behalf of the board of directors convey our congratulations to the class of 2007. This class represents diversity, a global background, skill, determination and grace on the golf course. It is truly a phenomenal group that we recognize tonight, and to each of you, to each of the six and to your families, congratulations.
Now let me move on to our next segment. In the history of the game of golf there's only ever been one Jack Nicklaus. Jack, as we all know, had great prowess on the golf course, and over the years different players have sought to defeat his records. But it's what's happened since Jack gave up competition that I think is most special, whether it be building golf courses and making it all around the world to help grow the game of golf, participating in the First Tee program, raising money for charity at his Memorial Tournament, or the sportsmanship that he's demonstrated as a multiple-year captain of the Presidents Cup American team. He is very, very special. We are indebted to him for his commitments back, and here tonight to pay tribute to the late Joe Carr is Jack Nicklaus.
JACK NICKLAUS: Thank you for those kind remarks. The future of our game is very important. But it's equally important to embrace the history of the sport as well as preserve the traditions and values which set it apart. To the representatives of the MacDonald, Carr families, to Curtis, Hubert, Se Ri and Kel, congratulations to all of you on this most memorable evening.
During my career I was lucky enough to play with many of the game's legends. That included our next inductee for lifetime achievement, Joe Carr.
Joe was a great champion. As a matter of fact, he was one of the greatest amateur champions the game has ever known. His list of career highlights is long and distinguished, three British Amateurs, six Irish Amateurs, Walker Cup team member a record ten times, the first Irishman to play in the Masters, the captain of the R & A. Those are just a few of Joe's many accomplishments. So it is fitting and appropriate that he is honored here tonight as part of the class of 2007.
The first time I met Joe, I was just a 19-year-old kid making his first trip to Muirfield, Scotland, for the Walker Cup matches. We didn't get to know each other real well there, but we really got to know each other two years later in Seattle when we played together during those Walker Cup matches. That same year, we played practice rounds at Pebble Beach before the U.S. Amateur. Joe and I were in different brackets, and we talked all week about meeting in the finals.
Perhaps he wanted that match a little bit too much, but we both advanced to the semifinals in different brackets, but unfortunately he lost. I guess it was just not meant to be.
However, the great consolation for both of us was that we walked away from Pebble Beach enriched with a friendship that each of us would share for the rest of our lives.
Each and every tournament after that when Joe and I were in the same field, I made certain to reunite during those practice rounds, just like in 1962. I made my British Open debut at Troon and found myself teeing off in the opening round at 3:45 with a marker. Not the greatest way to begin a tournament, let alone a major championship.
Thankfully my good friend Joe went to the R & A and told them that wasn't right to do that to the U.S. Open champion. They moved me into a threesome, and right there in a nutshell is Joe. He always thought about what was best for the game and his fellow competitors before he thought about himself.
Joe was a great friend. I'm certainly not alone in that assessment. He had a wonderful sense of humor, a champion on the course. Joe was a champion needler and laugher on and off the course. He was a cheery, fun-loving guy who was always willing to exchange barbs with you. He wore a smile and offered a kind word, and more often than not he offered an opponent more than just the riches of kindness.
Joe, like many of us, never shied away from a friendly wager, and I must have played about -- I suppose 50 rounds of golf with Joe during the practice rounds, of course the British Open and again in '63. It was almost as if Joe new that at each Open Barbara wanted a new sweater, and he was always very accommodating to fund that purchase. But trust me, Joe still got in my pocket plenty of times.
1967, Joe played in the Masters, becoming the first Irishman to play at Augusta. Well, in 1967 I was defending champion, and he found -- he and I found ourselves paired together from the first round. Only one of us saw the weekend that week. It wasn't me (laughter).
The next year, Joe got paired with Arnold. You know, the same thing happened to AP. You didn't make the weekend and he did, right?
Anyway, after that Cliff Roberts said that they were going to invite Joe back but they were afraid nobody wanted to play with him (laughter). Nothing could be further from the truth, though. Everyone loved to play golf with Joe. But more important, everyone simply loved being around Joe.
With his induction here tonight into the World Golf Hall of Fame, generations will come to be able to learn more about and share a little bit of the Irishman who gave so much to the game he loved and gave me so many warm and cherished memories. Tonight I'm proud to pay tribute to my friend Joe Carr, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Category, now fitting because Joe's truly was a lifetime of achievement.
On behalf of Joe's family who are here tonight, including his wife Mary, his sons and his daughter, who are all here with us tonight, and Joe D back in Ireland, as well as his countrymen Irishmen, I'm grateful for the opportunity to speak on their behalf as the Hall inducts its first member from the proud country of Ireland, Joe Carr. Thank you.
DAN HICKS: When Curtis Strange was growing up in Norfolk, Virginia, no one ever thought his name would be uttered in the same breath as Ben Hogan's. Strange is considered by many to be the most dominant American player of the 1980's, during which he won 16 of his 17 PGA TOUR events. He was an enthusiastic contributor in his four Ryder Cup appearances during that era, his fifth coming in 1995. Strange showed great promise as an amateur and remains very proud of that part of his career. He won the Virginia Junior Championship at the age of 15 and went on to Wake Forest on an Arnold Palmer scholarship, where as a three-time all-American he helped lead the Demon Deacons to back-to-back NCAA championships in 1974 and '75, taking the individual title, as well, in 1974.
All of us at NBC Sports are often reminded of the fact that his eagle on the final hole ousted our colleague Gary Koch. We hear about it all the time from Gary, and I'm sure Curtis likes to remind Gary, as well, of that great achievement. You talk about clutch, that pretty much explains Curtis Strange.
He also played on a Walker Cup and World Amateur team, as well, but it was the achievement of winning back-to-back U.S. Open titles in 1988 and 1989 that ensured his place in that era's history. He is still the only player to successfully defend the title of U.S. Open champion since Ben Hogan won in 1950 and 1951.
Curtis' twin brother Allan, who played on the PGA TOUR with him for a couple of years, is here tonight to present him as this year's PGA TOUR inductee. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mr. Allan Strange.
ALAN STRANGE: When Curtis and I were 12 or 13 years of age, we were riding home from the golf course one night with dad, and out of the blue came this question from our father: "Have you young tykes given any thought to what you might want to do when you grow up?" We said, no, sir. We were 10 or 11 years old. He said, "That's okay, because I want you to make me a promise. I want you to promise whatever you do in life, you'll strive to be the best. You'll strive to be the best in your industry and you'll do it every day." We said, yes, sir.
You know, after two U.S. Opens and 17 Tour titles, Ryder Cup captaincies and other victories, I now look back and I realize how serious Curtis took his commitment to dad that night. I'm excited and flattered to be here. You know, when your brother asks you to introduce him to the Hall of Fame, it means a lot. It means a lot.
But it's not easy. It was difficult. I struggled trying to figure out a way how I was going to evade you while I was here, why made Curtis strive to hard and what made him so successful. But then it's pretty simple. He has some traits, characteristics both personally and professionally that he's carried his whole life, his honesty, his integrity, his stubbornness (laughter). His stubbornness. His toughness, his directness, his determination. And you combine that with his love for the game, his passion to succeed at every level, his willingness to take the shot in difficult situations, and more importantly to me, his work ethic and his attitude that brought it all together and made it happen.
We tend to define the careers of these great champions in this Hall by their victories, and we'll treat Curtis no differently in years to come. But I also tend to think of his career in shots. Who can forget the shot out of the bunker at the '88 Open at Brookline? I wasn't sitting down. The courage it took to get in that bunker, prepare in 30 seconds and know you have to get it up-and-down to get in a playoff.
Or you may remember the next year in '89 the putt on 16 which put him ahead by two. I remember the drive, when you went ahead with three to go in the U.S. Open. It's best you get it in the fairway.
And I also remember the 6-iron that put him in position to make the putt, but again, it was the putt that put him two ahead.
I also remember the third Open. Curtis and I think in terms of our three Opens -- ours. Excuse me, his three Opens. We play good, he plays bad (laughter).
He didn't win, no. But my mind in some ways he did. As excited and proud of him as I was the previous two years with the victories, I was equally as proud the third Open, the way he persevered, the way he played and the way he became a part of that tournament.
If I go back a few years, you may have read about the 1-iron that Dan just mentioned on the final hole of the 1974 NCAA championships, a 1-iron 12 feet behind the hole where he made the putt for eagle where he and his Wake Forest teammates won by one. That's why we're here, the passion to succeed, the courage, the willingness to take the shot and the talent to back it up. The talent to back it up.
But those traits didn't start in professional golf. They didn't start in college golf. They started a long time before. So I thought I would talk to you about one more shot.
We were 13 playing in the Bow Creek men's club championship. We were playing the 15th hole the final day, and Curtis was leading a couple of older gentlemen by two and me by a few more, and as we approached our drives on 15, we noticed he had driven it in the right bunker and had not drawn a particularly good lie, and I don't know why I remember this like it was yesterday. Maybe it was because of the lack of hesitation pulling the club out of the bag, the willingness. Maybe it's because the crispness of the shot sounded as if it came from the fairway, not the bunker. The talent, or maybe it was just the darn shot itself which landed a couple feet from the hole where he made three and went on to win.
That's why we're here. The Curtis you know as a professional and talent was the same Curtis I grew up with at 13 where it all started. You know, maybe, just maybe, if you use your imagination, maybe that was the night he rode home with dad when he made his commitment to strive to be the best.
I'm very proud of my brother. Tonight is the absolute pinnacle of his career for the entire family. But I'm no more proud tonight than I've been of him every day he's played the game of golf. Ladies and gentlemen, I am flattered to be able to introduce to you the 1968 Bow Creek men's club champion, as well as your newest member into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Curtis?
CURTIS STRANGE: To Allan, thank you. That was very nice. We've already introduced the twin thing, but in case some of you weren't paying attention, yes, we are twins (laughter). We had somebody ask us that today as a matter of fact.
Honored guests, fellow inductees, Hall of Fame induction committee, ladies and gentlemen, I first want to say congratulations to Hubert, Se Ri, CB MacDonald, Joe Carr and Kel Nagle. It truly is an honor to go in the Hall with all of you. I look at this honor as spanning from junior golf through professional golf. Building a solid foundation is a must, from swing fundamentals to work ethic. This didn't start when I turned pro in 1976. This started back at Bow Creek playing junior golf, building a solid foundation.
I played a very individual game. It made us that way. All of my motivation and determination had to come from within. I thought I could do it alone. I thought I could do a lot of things alone, but I couldn't.
Recently I ran across an old native saying, and it says, "The honor of one is the honor of all. That is what I'll do here tonight, honor all." A thank you goes out to all my friends in the state of Virginia, people who encouraged me and gave me the opportunity to succeed over the years; friends at Bow Creek Country Club where I grew up and dad was a PGA professional; Leon Anthony, my basketball and golf coach in high school. He was the first man, the first coach I ever heard say you make the game easier by preparing hard. Work hard enough before and practice, and the game will come easy. That stuck with me.
The Virginia State Golf Association and its members, you are all honored here tonight. A thank you to Chandler Harper, a sincere thank you to Chandler Harper, the 1958 PGA Champion who took me under his wing after my dad died. What he taught me most was just how to play the game. Mr. Harper believed in me and my spirit. We honor his spirit tonight.
To my friends from Virginia and North Carolina who are here tonight, thank you for making the effort in attending. You have been friends for many, many years, and your support and camaraderie, especially for Sarah with me being away from home, has been truly wonderful. And with my family, some of whom aren't with us anymore, thank you for just being there, the Stranges, the Joneses and the Balls.
As important as golf was to me and my development, Wake Forest University and Coach Jesse Haddock was all of that, not just for golf but for the rest of my life. Coach gave me the opportunity to attend Wake on the Buddy Worsham Memorial scholarship. He gave me the opportunity to play against three of the best players in the country every single day, Jay Haas, David Thore and Bob Byman. They pushed me and Coach pushed me. Wake was my life for three years and remains a part of my soul forever. I thank you for your friendship and the bond that we have.
Also thanks for all the Wake people that are here tonight. Wake was also important for another reason, but I'll get to Sarah a little later.
When I turned pro, I couldn't have imagined the thousands of people I would cross paths with. Thank you to all my friends in the golf business from the entire industry. To IMG for 31 years of partnership, to all my friends at the PGA TOUR, how far we have come in 30 years. I remember my first win in '79, it was a whopping $36,000. That was a lot of money. Still is, as a matter of fact. I felt rich, but more importantly, we were out of debt.
Thanks to my friends at the United States Golf Association and all you do for the game, especially for running one big event in June every year. You know the one, with thick rough and fast greens, the hardest tournament in the world to win. The thrill of winning my back-to-back Opens, and I would never be able to put into words the thrill, is only matched by the honor of knowing that I will be associated with one of the game's great events forever.
To ABC television for giving me the opportunity to explore a different path for eight years. The best thing that came out of the TV gig was I started to use my adverbs correctly, and I met some dear friends.
To the PGA of America and its members, for giving Sarah and me the opportunity and responsibility to lead the 2001, which became the 2002, U.S. Ryder Cup team. I'm sure you all remember we were pushed back a year because of 9/11. Ryder Cup week was always the greatest week for Sarah and me, but to represent the country, the Good Old U.S. of A, during those times was something we'll never forget.
To the players on Tour, they have been like family over the years. I really, really enjoyed the camaraderie and the competitions. I always understood we had a job to do, to try to be the best we could be. To compete, it was a passion. To win, there was honor and passion in that work, and I loved every minute of it.
To the fans who have supported me in this game over the years, thank you very much. And finally to the press -- yes, the press. I wish I had time to thank you tonight but I was told to keep this speech short (laughter). It just doesn't ever leave me, does it?
In all seriousness, my gosh, thank you for all you've done for the game. Without your work and without your help, we wouldn't be where we are today, and for treating me fairly over the years.
Now for the hard part. During the past seven months, I have truly been overwhelmed with reflecting on the past, at times with people from a long time ago. My thoughts always go back to Bow Creek where dad was a pro and where I grew up. My mom, Nancy, who's here tonight, and dad took me to and from the course every day. It was my love and my passion back when I was only nine years old. Dad taught me the game, schooled me on the etiquette and honor of the game and told me I could do anything.
I spent 12 hours a day at the course, every day in the summer. I played, I raked traps, I hunted for golf balls, we had a lot of ditches on the course, I ran carts, I even caddied a little, but mostly I played.
We lost dad to cancer when Allan and I were 14 and my sister was ten. During this time my mom would drive me to tournaments all over the state of Virginia. Mom, you've always been there. Thank you very much. I love you.
Now to Allan, we have talked every Sunday or Monday for 31 years. We have talked about the players, the swings, the strategy, the results from the previous week. He was not only a fan of mine but a fan of every player in the game. He loves it. The weeks that I played, I was always looking for honest and direct comments, constructive criticism. Being a Strange, I got them. Thanks, Allan, and I listened.
I know what you're all thinking. It's been ever since you've seen Allan here the last couple days. No, we never tried to trick our girlfriends in high school, okay? His weren't very cute (laughter).
Speaking of cute, when I was at Wake, I met this blonde named Sarah Jones. Now we've been married for 31 years. She's been my girlfriend for 33. Through all this golf, traveling and raising Tom and David on the road, the thrills of victory and agonies of defeat, toilets backing up at home, pipes bursting, me in sunny Palm Springs somewhere, she's kept our family and lives headed in the right direction.
Can you imagine what her parents were thinking? We were 21 and 20 years old. We honeymooned -- our honeymoon was a crash course in life on the road, playing three weeks in Japan, one in Bali and then off to the Australian Open.
And then we joined the Tour in '77, could only afford hotels under $20 a night (laughter). We ate in cafeterias every night for under $10. On Sunday we splurged for a six-pack. One really nice hotel we stayed in, I won't tell you the town, had an hourly rate (laughter). And one morning the maid asked Sarah if her mother knew where she was (laughter).
I said I couldn't do this, go at this game alone. I trust everyone knows I wouldn't be here tonight without Sarah. Thank you.
To Tom and David, my two boys, you brought a balance to my life. Having you at tournaments, occasionally caddying, the emails I was slow at, phone calls, coming to games, activities, sports at home, I love you guys and I'm very proud of you.
I had a dream when I was a boy to win the U.S. Open. It was big in my house because dad played in seven of them. I would be like many of us in this audience. I would be on the golf course late in the afternoon playing four balls. One might be Hogan or Palmer, one was always Sam Snead, Virginia boy, and one probably Nicklaus. The other one was mine.
We played hard. They played hard. We played for the Open every day. But I always won (laughter). Hell, I belonged in the Hall of Fame just for beating them all the time (laughter).
To be elected in the World Golf Hall of Fame is beyond any dream one could have. To visit this facility the last couple of days has been truly amazing to look at these greats and what they accomplished. Think about Hogan shooting 67 in the last round of the U.S. Open in '51 at Oakland Hills. What a hard golf course, what a round.
Think about in '45 Byron Nelson after winning 18 events, his scoring average was 68.33. Look at Sam Snead's swing and now you know why and how he won 88 times on TOUR. And of course Jack Nicklaus' 18 major championships. And for me to walk through this Hall reinforces the respect I have for all of its members and their talent.
This is the greatest honor one could ever have. I've been extremely lucky and blessed to play golf. I love this game. It frustrates us and excites us at the same time. I've gone to bed many nights, as all of you have, questioning our ability and waking up the next morning and can't wait to get to the golf course. It has given me, my family and all of us so much. It teaches us so much. It's the greatest environment for youngsters and adults alike. In fact, we were all brought here tonight because of golf.
And finally, finally, if I could ask one thing from all of you tonight, it's very simple and very easy. It would be to keep this game fresh and good. We will do that by continuing to give the kids a chance to play because there's a young boy or girl out there who is dreaming, dreaming about winning their Open, and as somebody who has been lucky enough to win that dream, we need to do everything we can to make sure that dream comes true.
Thank you for the honor tonight, and thank you for coming.
DAN HICKS: Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Hubert Green turned pro after graduating from Florida State back in 1968. Just two years later he joined the PGA TOUR, winning his first tournament in his rookie season of 1971. During his next 24 years on the PGA TOUR, Hubert won 19 events and played on three Ryder Cup teams. Known for his fierce determination, Green has earned the nickname "Doberman" on the golf course, and it was that determination that helped him keep his cool and claim victory in the 1977 U.S. Open, his first major championship.
He showed the same ferocity when he battled and beat stage four cancer in 2003, earning him the Ben Hogan Award from the Golf Writers Association of America in 2005, an award given to a golfer who has remained active despite a physical handicap or serious illness.
Tonight's next presenter brings his unique sense of humor to the Champions Tour every season. He's been bringing it to golf for decades long now. Truly one of the game's great ambassadors and a fan favorite in the fairways, ladies and gentlemen, here to introduce our next inductee in the Veterans Category, Mr. Fuzzy Zoeller.
FUZZY ZOELLER: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you all very much for being here. It's a beautiful night. This kind of stuff doesn't happen in southern Indiana. I can tell you that right now. What an honor this is for me, a little boy from southern Indiana having an opportunity to do something great like this for a very close friend of mine, Mr. Hubert Green.
I'll tell you, I didn't know what to say tonight, so as I was sitting there in my hotel room I remember my dad always said you always bring up your best thoughts when you're kind of sitting in like a prone position. So I -- I always carry my red Sharpie. Anyone on the Champions Tour knows I carry my red Sharpie anywhere I go, so I was in a prone position thinking about what I should say about my closest friend Mr. Hubert Green.
All jokes aside, think about this, 19 PGA TOUR victories, two of them majors, U.S. Open in '77, with which he played the last round at Southern Hills with a death threat. You want to know why he got the nickname "Doberman"? There is a reason for that. '85 the PGA Championship at Cherry Hills Country Club, where he beat the best at what they do for a living, accomplishments unbelievable for any professional golfer. 26 times, ladies and gentlemen, he's won here and around the world.
Does he belong in this great hall that we have over here to our right? Yes, he does. Yes, he does.
Think about it. I said 26, it's really 28. You get up and you play against this guy here named Palmer, Nicklaus, Strange, Larry Nelson -- he didn't get a chance to play against the girls because he might have got his ass beat, but I'm just telling you, it's quite a feat. Gary Player is another one we can pull out of the hat.
It's indeed a pleasure for me to be here and to introduce a guy whom I've come to love as a brother. My good friend, Mr. Hubert Green.
HUBERT GREEN: Folks asked me when I heard about Fuzzy speaking for me, I wasn't worried because I think in the future he'll be here, and I'll be speaking for him possibly, and turnabout is fair play and I'll have the last laugh on him.
The best thing about this week is probably being with my boys. My three sons are here. First time we've played golf ever together because we're in different parts of the country. None of us played real good yesterday, but it was fun, a lot of giggles, a lot of "fores" and a lot of other cuss words I can't talk about right now. And I had my two grandbabies with me, too. It's a great honor to have my family with me like that. This is fantastic, so thank you very much.
In the beginning, the Green children had to get involved in after-school activities. We weren't allowed to be next-door cowboys, so I took part in sports. I was too hostile, mobile and agile for football, basketball and baseball. That left golf. The Green family played golf on mainly Sunday afternoons, and as the word came out to other members of the Birmingham Country Club on what nine the Green clan was playing, they avoided it like the plague. Our lack of organization and talent was legendary (laughter).
When I was nine, I played the Future Masters 10-and-under B Division in Alabama, had a one-shot lead going to the next-to-last hole, where Lee Harper, who is now a golf pro in Birmingham, made a 3-wood for a birdie on a par 5 that cut me by one shot. I was dismayed, upset, and like most nine-year-olds, I cried.
On the ride back home, that trophy I got, which is here in the Hall of Fame, is only five inches tall, felt like the Wannamaker Trophy.
We had a small group of junior players at the Birmingham Country Club such as Sam Farlow, who was runner up in the Senior Amateur, Bobby Lucky, who's here tonight, Jackie Adams, Charles Wilcox. We had our own golf tournaments, played with PGB golf balls, wiffle ball-type things. We'd cut the greens with cush mowers, cut the cups out with Planters peanut cups, all asphalt and concrete pavement were considered water hazards. We played 50 cents apiece for a regular tournament and a dollar for a major. Bobby Lucky had the Lucky Invitational. Charles Wilcox lived on Clarendon Circle and he had the Clarendon National. I, of course, had the Green Acre Country Club.
Every Country Club in Alabama has their own invitational golf tournament, and whenever you'd play it was a three- or four-day tournament from April to Labor Day. I remember my first one in Huntsville, Alabama, at age 18 with my good friend caddying for me.
During high school I was always known as buff any Green's son or Maurice Green's little brother. I turned down golf scholarships at University of Alabama and Auburn to go to Florida State where I could be unknown, and boy, did I succeed.
I've enjoyed many friendships with the golf team there. My fellow Seminole Smokey Chaney who's here tonight, Bobby Duval, and Ron Philo, who's the father of Laura Diaz. We were recruited to play golf there by assistant basketball coach Hugh Durham. Coach Durham didn't play golf, but if he had to he could sell salt water to the Pacific Ocean. He'd make us do silly things, hit out of the right rough on odd-numbered holes and left rough on even-numbered holes. We only had a nine-hole course, so it made us think instead of hitting the ball and going through the motions.
I'm often asked when did you decide to turn pro. Between the sophomore and junior years in college in 1966 the Southern Amateur was played at my home course in Birmingham Country Club and I was fortunate enough to win. This gave me some national exposure. Also Matt McLennan was considered the best player in Alabama at that time. For the next year we played in seven tournaments. I won four and he won three, and that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
That fall he turned pro and won his first tournament, and since the word work is far from my vocabulary, I thought turning pro sounded pretty good.
Being a Green meant not just something halfway. In high school C's were average, and my father said "Greens aren't average." He also said "If you dig a hole, dig a good hole. Be proud of the hole you dig." Sort of what Curtis said his father said. You've got to be dedicated.
I used to cut the grass in our front yard before I went out on Fridays. But if it rained on Friday, my dad would say, "You should have cut it on Thursday." There are no ifs, ands or buts in the Green household.
All of us in the Hall of Fame have had success, and my greatest supporter has been Hall Thompson, and I want to thank him for this.
As true tradition, my sister has her Ph.D. in history, and my brother Lieutenant Colonel Maurice Green was awarded three purple hearts along with the second highest honor of the Navy Cross, the second and third highest awards a man can receive.
Dr. Green never said much about our achievements, but he was always proud and bragging to his friends but seldom gave us direct praise.
In 1972 I played the First Tee Club Masters in Japan. The management group who was in charge promised us first class accommodations on the trip, but our seats were in the field of coach class and packed as could be. On the flight back home I paid for the upgrade for my father and I to first class, and somewhere over the Pacific Ocean my father turned to me with a drink in his hand and said, "Son, you done good."
My parents have gone on to that par 3 in the sky, but as sure as I'm here now, I'm sure up there he's turned to my mother and said, "You know, he's done good." Thank you very much.
End of FastScripts