ORLANDO, Fla. – Hollis Stacy likens her spot in the Hall of Fame to a game of Monopoly. She pictures each major win – she has four, including three U.S. Women’s Opens – as one of the hotels won in the popular board game.
Still, those “hotels” weren’t enough to qualify Stacy, 57, for a spot in the hall on points alone. Instead, she’ll earn her place via the veterans category. It’s something she never thought would happen, or something that her 83-year-old mother, Matilda, would see in her lifetime.
“I conditioned myself not to think about it, because it did bug me a little bit,” Stacy said of falling short in points.
Stacy, who also owns three U.S. Girls’ Junior titles and 18 total LPGA titles, remembers the day she received the call informing her that she had earned the spot. She was driving over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge near her home in Bradenton, Fla., fighting bad cell-phone service.
“I think I may have said three words the entire conversation,” she said. “I’m shocked, I’m overwhelmed and I am so honored. To be a part of the Hall of Fame is a dream come true.”
Stacy concedes she struggled to keep the news quiet the next day at a Legends Tour event (the LPGA’s senior tour), and eventually confided in Sherri Steinhauer, who mildly freaked out when Stacy approached her saying, “I have to tell you something.”
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan, on hand for Thursday’s announcement, also remembers the day Stacy received the phone call, and thinks her response says something about Stacy’s personality.
“I remember saying to Hollis, ‘Is this the greatest morning of your life?’ ” Whan said. “And I remember her saying this is going to be so great for my family and my hometown.”
Stacy, who is from Savannah, Ga., is one of 10 children. She spoke fondly of her childhood there, when “there were never enough hours in the day or holes on the golf course.” She listed one of her ongoing projects as trying to bring an LPGA event to the historic coastal city by 2013.
“I have a very strong connection in the city, and I have a lot of siblings, so we can get the job done,” she said jokingly.
One of those siblings, younger sister Martha Leach, the 2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion, will give the speech in May when Stacy is inducted into the Hall of Fame in St. Augustine during Players Championship week.
Throughout the announcement of her impending induction, Stacy’s eyes went to an electronic media board across the room. She noted 20-year-old Jennifer Johnson’s position near the top of the leaderboard, and she also noted the exceptional talent of 16-year-old phenom Lexi Thompson. But Stacy and players of her era paved the way for this new generation.
“I think my reputation for being competitive and maybe having fun, enjoying golf, although I have to tell you, there’s no smiling on that golf course when you’re making bogeys,” she said.