Tiger Woods elected to World Golf Hall of Fame as first member of Class of 2021
Stan Badz/PGA Tour
PONTE VEDRA BEACH — The inevitable happened on Wednesday. In perhaps the least surprising bit of news any golf fan could hear, Tiger Woods has been elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
“I am both honored and humbled to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame,” Woods said in a statement. “This past year has been such an incredible journey, and the support I've received from my family, friends and fans has been overwhelming. This achievement is the ultimate recognition to never give up and keep chasing.”
Woods is the first member of the Class of 2021 picked by the Hall of Fame's 20-member Selection Committee. The Committee voted on Wednesday from a list of 10 finalists. Additional inductees will be announced later, according to officials with the Hall of Fame. Specifics on the formal induction ceremony, which will take place next year, are also to be determined.
Woods, 44, has amassed 15 major championships and a record-tying 82 PGA Tour victories over his storied professional career. He's one of the few phenoms who end up surpassing expectations—Woods won three straight U.S. Junior Amateurs and three straight U.S. Amateurs before turning professional in 1996.
He won his first major at the 1997 Masters, where he set the scoring record of 18 under par and won by a record 12 shots. He'd add 13 more majors over the next 11 years—including winning four in a row, the Tiger Slam, from the 2000 U.S. Open through the 2001 Masters—before winning his 15th last April at Augusta, after an 11-year drought marked by personal and physical struggles.
“Tiger has done more for the game of golf than anyone ever thought possible, and his historic feats on the course are only one aspect of his impact,” said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. “His imprint on the game is immeasurable, and his unparalleled legacy is one we look forward to celebrating as he’s inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame next year.”
Woods holds a number of PGA Tour records, including the most made cuts in a row (142) and most weeks spent atop the World Golf Rankings (683).
The only surprise is how soon Woods has been elected into the Hall of Fame—the minimum age for enshrinement had been 50 until it was moved to 45 earlier this year. Woods will turn 45 on Dec. 30.
The announcement comes during the Players Championship, which Woods is missing for the first time since 2017 to rest a sore back. He has maintained throughout the year that the singular goal of his preparation is to be ready to mount a strong title defense at Augusta National next month.
The remaining finalists who are being considered to join Woods are Johnny Farrell, Padraig Harrington, Tom Weiskopf, Susie Maxwell Berning, Beverly Hanson, Sandra Palmer and Dottie Pepper, and contributors Tim Finchem and Marion Hollins.