The news came a little more than a month after the World Golf Hall of Fame first opened its doors -- albeit in a different locale -- on Sept. 11, 1974. The original WGHOF was built in Pinehurst, N.C., adjacent to the resort’s famed No. 2 course. On opening day 40 years ago, President Gerald Ford was present to cut the ribbon and address the assembly who were there to see the inaugural 13 inductees be honored.
Like the initial class that entered the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939, which had the likes of Ruth, Cobb and Wagner, the WGHOF class recognized golf’s early legends Bobby Jones, Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet, Babe Zaharias and Walter Hagen. Enshrinees attending included Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Patty Berg, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Sam Snead.
The creation of the WGHOF had been a long time coming, and officials had high hopes that it would become a mecca for golf visitors. Along with the presence of President Ford and a parachute exhibition by the Golden Knights, the assemblage of eight of the game’s royal legends gave the Hall of Fame an extra-special start. The ceremony was also notable for a rare dressing of Player—the Black Knight—wearing white, and the normally serious Hogan laughing broadly.
But the lure of Pinehurst wasn’t enough, and low attendance, among other issues, forced the hall to close in 1993, having witnessed 71 member inductions. In May 1998, the WGHOF opened in a new location, St. Augustine, Fla., just a high-handicapper’s wedge shot off I-95. It is the main attraction of the World Golf Village, but it’s also still working to find its niche in the golf world. Election of new Hall members had been a major concern in recent years, some feeling the threshold for entry was too easy, allowing popular players who might not have proven their worth for an entirety of their career to be inducted to make the ceremony a must-see event.
The WGHOF now has 146 members, and artifacts from those members alone are enough to provide a significant history of the game. So the WGHOF is putting out great effort to fulfill its mission to “preserve and honor the history of the game of golf and the legacies of those who have made it great.” And the fulfillment of that all started 40 years ago in Pinehurst.
Multiple Tweeters noted the golfing legend's presence but it was a photo with Major League Baseball's Joe Torre that got the most social media traction. It didn't hurt that Anchorman star Paul Rudd and Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt joined the shot. Watson undoubtedly left a happy man as the Royals evened the World Series at 1-1 with the San Fransisco Giants after a resounding 7-2 victory.
The latest entry to the Tour360 shoe line from Adidas Golf -- the Tour360 x -- features a new outsole and additional cushioning in the midsole for comfort. The Tour360 x's nine-cleat design is intended to increase stability and reduce the shoe's weight.
Also joining the line is the Tour360 x Boa, which uses a dial on the tongue to adjust for comfort and fit.
The Tour x ($140) will be available in six colors—three of which: white/silver/black, blue/gray/white and silver/white/black—go on sale Nov. 1. The other three colors will be available in February. The Tour360 x Boa ($180) will be offered in two colors and available Dec. 1.
Recalling the rarest of breeds: A newspaperman who brought down one president and played golf with another
In the first place, if you play golf with a president you are apt to play at some fancy country club whose code of dress requires clothes that I do not have in my wardrobe . . . like golf shoes, for openers. As a result I hit off the first tee in old sneakers, and I feel like I was three down before I hit a shot. In the second place, if you play golf with a president you are dead sure to be watched by a crowd of people who either play golf better than you do and therefore you know they’re going to laugh when you shank the ball, or who line the roads and shout to be recognized by your partner. In any case, that’s another two down. In the third place, there are Secret Service men all around you, carrying guns in dummy golf bags, and that doesn’t do anything for your game. And finally, if you play golf with this president, his patience is so limited that you can never stop to look for a lost ball, and that doesn’t suit my game at all.
The headline to this Kevin Garside column in the Independent is ominous: “Rory McIlroy’s court case could put Masters bid in rough.” McIlroy and his former agency, Horizon, are embroiled in a dispute that will go to court in February, “two months before the tournament he has made it his priority to win,” Garside writes of McIlroy’s bid to complete the career grand slam. “He has showed that he is vulnerable when matters spiral beyond his control, as this case might with devastating consequences for his reputation, should the judge decide in the opposition’s favour.”
(Getty Images photo)
Jason Dufner withdrew from the PGA Championship in August with a neck injury and hasn’t been seen since. Until now. Dufner returns to competition at the Perth International in Australia. “I took three weeks off in the middle of the year because I had a gut full of feeling like I wasn’t getting out of it what I was putting into it,” he said in this story by Chris Robinson in Perth Now. “You just you can’t underestimate how valuable taking a week or two off is. Doing this is such a grind that you’ve got to really, really, really want to be there. If you take a few weeks off you get pretty itchy to go play golf. That can be the difference.”
“No-one needs to persuade me about the merits of Wales’s finest-ever golfer,” Derek Lawrenson writes in the Daily Mail regarding Ian Woosnam’s omission from the World Golf Hall of Fame. Lawrenson was one of 16 members of the selection commission. “I’ve written about Woosnam my whole working life. At a time when Hall of Famers like Seve, Greg Norman, Sandy Lyle, Tom Watson and Sir Nick Faldo were at their peak he was, for a time, quite clearly the best golfer in the world. It’s a horrendous omission.” Woosnam’s response: “After seeing the results of the golf world hall of fame, I think it’s time to say goodbye to golf and retire.”
The odds weren’t good for Carlos Ortiz’ bid to join the PGA Tour. Or for any other Mexican player, either. “Only five Mexican-born players had ever made it to the PGA Tour,” Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press writes in this look at the PGA Tour rookie. “Two of them won tournaments a generation before he was born, the most recent title by Victor Delgado in 1978 at the Ed McMahon-Jaycees Quad City Open.”
“Fatherless black kid. 8th grade drop out. Broken home. Running with the wrong crowd,” Gerald Ensley of the Tallahassee Democrat writes in this profile of an aspiring professional golfer, Kamaiu Johnson. “I was going down a dark road when I found golf,” Johnson said. “There is no doubt, golf saved my life.” He is turning professional this weekend.
Follow @ronkaspriske (Illustration: Brown Bird Design)