O'Meara, Davies, Graham headline HOF inductees

O'Meara, Davies, Graham headline HOF inductees

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O'Meara, Davies, Graham headline HOF inductees

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Laura Davies, David Graham, Mark O’Meara and Albert Warren “A.W.” Tillinghast, a foursome of deserving individuals, have been selected to join golf’s most distinguished list as members of the World Golf Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015.

“To have the great honor of being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame is a dream come true,” said Mark O’Meara.

O’Meara, 57, won 16 times on the PGA Tour and has represented the United States in five Ryder Cups and two Presidents Cups. He had his best year in 1998, when he won the Masters and Open Championship and was named PGA Tour Player of the Year.

Davies dominated women’s golf for a span of the 1990s. She amassed 20 victories on the LPGA and a record 45 on the Ladies European Tour among her 84 titles worldwide. In 1987, as a 23-year-old member of the LET, Davies outdueled future Hall of Fame members Ayako Okamoto and Joanne Carner in an 18-hole playoff to win the U.S. Women’s Open at Plainfield (N.J.) Country Club. Twice – in 1994 and ’96 – she captured the LPGA Championships at Dupont (Del.) Country Club, and she added a fourth major with the 1996 du Maurier Classic. Davies might have been inducted already, but she had refused to have her name be included on the hall’s International ballot. Fittingly, the most successful female British golfer of her day will be part of the ’15 induction, the first ceremony to take place away from the hall’s St. Augustine, Fla., grounds. The ceremony will move to St. Andrews, Scotland, on July 13, the Monday of Open Championship week.

“I am especially looking forward to the induction ceremony at St. Andrews in 2015,” Davies said. “It really will be a special event.”

Graham’s induction is equally overdue. He had fallen off the ballot for receiving less than 5 percent of the vote in consecutive years. In a theme consistent with the other new inductees, the hall’s new 16-person committee righted a wrong and found reason to reconsider the two-time major winner. Among his more than 20 victories worldwide, Graham won the 1979 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills and the ’81 U.S. Open at Merion. During his heyday, the Australian was an international globetrotter, joining Hale Irwin, Bernhard Langer and Gary Player as the only players to win events on six continents. Graham represented Australia in three Dunhill Cups and two World Cups, winning the 1970 World Cup with Bruce Devlin. He also was the International team captain in the first Presidents Cup, in 1994.

“Clearly, to be accepted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as player is the icing on the cake on what has been a nice career,” Graham said. “It is a great honor for me, my wife, my kids and all of my friends.”

Tillinghast, born in 1874, was a prolific architect, with more than 100 U.S. courses to his credit. Several are highly-ranked and frequently used to host golf’s major championships, most notably: Bethpage State Park, Winged Foot, Baltusrol, San Francisco Golf Club, Quaker Ridge and Somerset Hills. Tillinghast, who also was an original member of the PGA of America and authored a slew of books about the game, died in 1942.

This marked the first time that the hall’s new 16-person selection committee voted on 16 finalists from a list vetted by a 20-person selection subcommittee. Each new member met the required 75 percent threshold. The selection committee was co-chaired by Hall of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam and included the members of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors and a mix of institutional and at-large seats.

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