As if Davis Love III wasn’t already having a good month after his redemptive return as the victorious U.S. Ryder Cup captain at Hazeltine National comes this: the 52-year-old has been named one of five inductees for the World Golf Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017.
Joining Love in receiving the game’s highest honor is two-time European Tour player of the year Ian Woosnam, LPGA standouts Lorena Ochoa and Meg Mallon, and noted newspaper and TV commentator Henry Longhurst. The group will be formally honored Sept. 26, 2017 in New York City during the week of the Presidents Cup.
All five passed the new voting requirements set by the Hall of Fame in 2014, with each receiving approval from at least 12 of the 16 members on the Selection Committee. The five were selected from an original list of 16 finalists.
Love won 21 titles on the PGA Tour, his first coming at the 1987 MCI Heritage Golf Classic and his most recent taking place last year at the Wyndham Championship. In addition to playing in six Ryder Cups and winning the Players Championship in 1992 and 2003, Love’s career was highlighted by his victory in the 1997 PGA Championship at Winged Foot.
Woosnam, 58, rose to prominence in the 1990s as one of the "Big Five" players (along with Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle and Bernhard Langer) who helped Europe turn the once-lopsided Ryder Cup matches into the tense and heated competition they are today. The Welshman played on eight squads and captained the Euros to victory in 2006 at Celtic Manor.
During his playing career he won 29 European Tour titles, ranking him sixth on the all-time victory list, highlighted by his win at the 1991 Masters.
While playing just eight full seasons on the LPGA Tour before retiring at age 28, Ochoa won 27 times, including two majors. Her dominant run included 158 consecutive week as the No. 1 ranked golfer, from 2007-2010. She’ll be the first Mexican-born player inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Mallon won 18 LPGA titles and four major championships in her 23-year career, along with playing on seven U.S. Solheim Cup teams and captaining the American side in 2013.
Longhurst wrote a weekly column for the London Sunday Times for 40 years and became what many considered the first golf TV personality by providing coverage for the BBC from the 1950s until his death in 1978 at age 69.
The five new inductees bring the number of overall members of the Hall of Fame to 155.
The complete list of finalists for Class of 2017 included: Susie Berning, Johnny Farrell, Max Faulkner, Peggy Kirk Bell, Catherine Lacoste, Longhurst, Love, Mallon, Graham Marsh, Ochoa, Sandra Palmer, Calvin Peete, Samuel Ryder, Macdonald Smith Jan Stephenson and Woosnam.