PONTE VEDRA BEACH, United States: Britain’s Laura Davies, Australian David Graham, American Mark O’Meara and the late course architect A.W. Tillinghast were named Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) as the newest members of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
The four will be inducted into the sporting shrine at ceremonies next July in St. Andrews, Scotland, during the week of the British Open.
England’s Davies, who turned 51 earlier this month, was honored only a day after she went to Buckingham Palace and received her insignia as Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
“The Queen was busy, so Princess Anne presented me with my medal,” Davies said. “You walk into the main ball room at Buckingham Palace and you get the pin pinned on you and you have a little chat and then you walk off and it’s probably the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever done.
“And then two days before that the commissioner of the LPGA (Mike Whan) rang me and told me about this. It’s just the icing on the cake for a very long and obviously quite a successful career.
“Actually I can pretty much match the two awards up. They’re on a level playing field to be honest with you. They’re both great honors and something I never really thought about almost 30 years ago when I turned pro.”
Davies, who turned pro in 1985, won 84 career titles, including major crowns at the 1987 US Women’s Open, the 1994 and 1996 LPGA Championship and the 1996 du Maurier Classic.
Graham, 68, has won 38 career titles, including the 1979 PGA Championship and 1981 US Open.
“It has been a long time, but like they say, good things are worth waiting for,” Graham said. “It’s a great honor and I’m delighted.”
O’Meara, 57, won 34 career titles, including the 1998 Masters and British Open titles. He became, at 41, the oldest player to win two majors in the same year.
“I was hoping that this time was going to come, and fortunately it did,” O’Meara said. “This is kind of the pinnacle of golf, to be recognized by the Hall, by your peers, by the fans.”
Tillinghast, who died in 1942 at age 68, worked on more than 250 courses, including such familiar major venues as Winged Foot, Baltusrol and Bethpage Black.
“You look at Tillinghast, Alistair MacKenzie, Donald Ross, designers of that era, those guys were artists,” O’Meara said. “It’s a great honor for the Tillinghast family and heirs to be recognized for the great work he did.”