Emotions run high for 2019 World Golf Hall of Fame class

Emotions run high for 2019 World Golf Hall of Fame class

Emotions run high for 2019 World Golf Hall of Fame class

Two-time US Open victor Retief Goosen, three-time major champion Jan Stephenson and former Augusta National chairman Billy Payne were among five new World Golf Hall of Fame members announced Wednesday.

South African Retief Goosen was recognised in the Male Competitor Category while former Augusta National chairman Billy Payne and all abilities golf advocate Dennis Walters joined under the Lifetime Achievement Category along with major victor and women's golf advocate Peggy Kirk Bell.

His 33 worldwide wins include two US Open Championships in 2001 - the same year he was named European Tour Player of the Year - and 2004. Stephenson won the LPGA Championship, U.S. Women's Open and du Maurier Classic among her 16 titles on the LPGA Tour.

"We are excited to begin working with them as we gear up for the Induction Ceremony in Pebble Beach this June".

Bell, a founding member of the LPGA and the first female to make Golf Magazine's Golf Teachers Hall of Fame, will be inducted on a posthumous basis.

Goosen was practicing his putting on Tuesday when he got a phone call from long time mentor and Hall of Fame member Gary Player to inform him of his election.

Known affectionately as "The Goose", Goosen sat within the Official World Golf Ranking's top 10 for more than 250 weeks from 2001 through 2007. We can't wait for the actual day to come around, and getting to that great place, the Hall of Fame. She earned rookie of the year honors but also became famous for embracing her good looks and using them to help market herself-including famously posing naked in a bathtub, covered by a pile of golf balls.

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"Life would have been so different", Stephenson said.

In his 11 years as chairman of Augusta National and the Masters Tournament (2006-2017), Payne, 70, oversaw a series of initiatives aimed at broadening the appeal of the sport to grow the game in the US and around the world. "It was like winning the US Open all over again". The Class of 2019 was elected by the Hall of Fame's Selection Commission, which debated a group of 15 finalists. Payne welcome the first female members to Augusta National and was responsible for developing several grow-the-game initiatives such as the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship and amateur tournaments in Asia and Latin America.

"I've been crying, goosebumps, couldn't sleep", Stephenson said.

"The efforts that I was a part of during my 11 years at Augusta were a distinct effort to reflect back on the contributions that Bobby Jones and Cliff Roberts had made to golf, their love of golf and their desire that golf would become a game, not only for the privileged but for others", Payne said.

Kirk Bell, who passed away in 2016, was also honoured in the lifetime achievement category alongside Payne and Walters.

Retired Augusta National Golf Club and Masters Tournament chairman Billy Payne is among five people selected for induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Walters was a talented golfer whose life took a harrowing turn when he was paralyzed at age 24 in a golf cart accident. He's one of 11 honorary lifetime PGA of America members.

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