The World Golf Hall of Fame Class of 2019 Inductees officially began their “Road to Induction” when they met for the first time today at the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum in St. Augustine, Fla.
The four living Inductees – Retief Goosen, Billy Payne, Jan Stephenson and Dennis Walters – will join the ranks of the World Golf Hall of Fame along with the late Peggy Kirk Bell during the 2019 Induction Ceremony on June 10 in Pebble Beach, Calif., the week of the U.S. Open Championship.
Together, the five Inductees will bring the Hall of Fame Member total up to 160.
“It’s extraordinary to be in the World Golf Hall of Fame,” said Payne, the former chairman of Augusta National Golf Club. “I reflect back on the journey and how I got here. It’s pretty simple – I had the opportunity to lead what may be the finest organization in all of golf, and most importantly, an organization which has an unparalleled staff and members who became my best friends and didn’t want me to fail. And because they didn’t, I’ve ended up here in the Hall of Fame.”
“It’s a great honor to be with all these great past champions and people who have done so much for the game of golf,” said Goosen, a two-time U.S. Open champion. “For me to be inducted is a great honor. I’m pretty proud of myself that what I’ve achieved in this game has got me this far.”
During the visit, the Inductees reflected on their successes on and off the golf course, how they would like to be remembered, and their emotions about standing alongside the game’s greatest players and contributors as members of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
“One of my most memorable moments was when Ray Volpe – the LPGA Commissioner at the time – came to me and asked if I would be the new image of the LPGA,” said Stephenson, who recorded 20 victories, including three Majors, on the LPGA Tour. “It definitely changed everything for me.”
Walters was an elite golfer who was paralyzed from the waist-down at the age of 24 following a golf cart accident. He has since dedicated his career to sharing life lessons and inspiring fans and disabled golfers of all ages through golf clinics and special performances at more than 3,000 worldwide appearances.
“When people look at my career, I’d like them to remember that I had a good spirit and I wasn’t going to give up,” Walters said. “I’m hoping that’s contagious.”
Feature Photo: World Golf Hall of Fame