New York, United States: Two days before the playing of the 12th Presidents Cup at nearby Liberty National Golf Club, the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum kicked off an historic week in New York with the enshrinement of its 2017 Induction Class at Cipriani Wall Street.
More than 30 Hall of Fame Members, including icons Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Nancy Lopez and Annika Sorenstam and the entire 2015 Class returned to support the new members: Davis Love III, Meg Mallon, Lorena Ochoa Reyes, Ian Woosnam and the late Henry Longhurst.
“Our heartfelt congratulations go out to Davis, Lorena, Meg, Ian and the family of the late Henry Longhurst,” said Jack Peter, President of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
“Between Scotland and now New York, we are very pleased with the direction and the momentum the Hall of Fame continues to build. We are grateful for the opportunity to kick off Presidents Cup week and share the stories of these five worthy inductees with audiences all over the world.”
Emceed by Cara Robinson, the ceremony was broadcast live on the Golf Channel in the United States and seen in more than 25 countries.
First to receive the Induction Crystal was Mallon, presented by friend and former LPGA Commissioner Ty Votaw who described the four-time Major winner as the ‘owner of a big, crinkly, beautiful smile’.
Prior to the start of her induction speech, Mallon first asked her family and friends in the audience to stand to be acknowledged for helping her reach her goals, which included a scholarship to Ohio State University. Mallon also recalled her memories as a member of the LPGA family, which included nine US Solheim Cup appearances.
Following Mallon’s acceptance, the Hall of Fame played an emotional video to honour the late Arnold Palmer, who passed away just over one year ago.
Shortly after, Player took the stage to introduce his friend Woosnam who dedicated his Induction Crystal to his family, including his late mother and father. Woosnam, known for his power off the tee, smiled while reminiscing about his long, successful career.
Longhurst, a hybrid journalist who wrote extensively for the London Times before seamlessly transitioning to broadcast work for the BBC, was presented by fellow journalist, countryman and admirer, John Hopkins. On hand to accept the Induction Crystal, was Longhurst’s granddaughter Virginia ‘Ginny’ Hudson.
Next to be honoured was Ochoa Reyes, the first Mexican-born golfer to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. LPGA legend Juli Inkster introduced Ochoa Reyes, who took the stage before more than 80 friends and family members. Unlike many other Hall of Fame Members in the room, she is best remembered for leaving the game on her own terms at age 28 to pursue a family and help others in her home country. Before exiting the stage, Ochoa, looked at her parents, who were sitting in the front row and delivered a heartfelt message in Spanish.
The final inductee recognised was Love III, a 21-time PGA Tour winner, 1997 PGA champion and a two-time The Players champion. On stage to present Love III, was mentor and fellow Hall of Fame Member Tom Kite.
Upon accepting his Hall of Fame honour, an emotional Love III brought his three-year old granddaughter, Eloise, on stage as a symbol of the Love family golf lineage, which includes his late father and his son, Dru Love. He concluded his speech by saying ‘induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame is the greatest honour of my life’.