Four new members join the World Golf Hall of Fame as the 144th Open Championship took place at St Andrews. Bringing the total number of members to 150, the new members include: Dame Laura Davies, David Graham, Mark O’Meara and A.W. Tillinghast. For the first time, the Induction Ceremony, a biennial event, was staged outside of the United States and televised live in Scotland.
With 79 victories worldwide and four LPGA Major Championships, Davies is considered by many to be the most successful female British player of all time. Davies has represented Europe a record 12 times in the Solheim Cup, playing in every competition from 1990-2011. She was recently made a Dame by the Queen of England in the 2014 UK honors list for her services to the sport of golf.
Among his 30+ worldwide victories, Graham won the 1979 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills Country Club and the 1981 U.S. Open at Merion, making him the first Australian to win two different Major Championships. While Graham’s two biggest wins were on U.S. soil, the Australian is truly an international competitor, joining fellow Hall of Fame members Hale Irwin, Bernhard Langer and Gary Player as the only players to win events on six different continents.
O’Meara established himself as one of the game’s greats, when he captured both the Masters and Open Championship in 1998. In the same year, he was also named PGA TOUR Player of the Year. His myriad career highlights go beyond those two victories, starting in 1979 when he won the U.S. Amateur at Canterbury Golf Club in Cleveland. O’Meara has more than 20 victories worldwide, and has represented the United States in five Ryder Cups and two Presidents Cups, while holding 16 PGA TOUR wins.
An admirer of St Andrews and student of Old Tom Morris, Tillinghast used his knowledge to become a true pioneer of American golf. Tillinghast was a prolific architect, having worked on more than 265 different courses. Several of Tillinghast’s designs are still considered among the world’s best, and are used frequently for golf’s Major Championships. In total, his courses have been host to 50 Major Championships. Bethpage State Park, Winged Foot, Baltusrol Golf Club, San Francisco Golf Club, Quaker Ridge and Somerset Hills are all Tillinghast designs.
The World Golf Hall of Fame opened in Pinehurst, N.C., to much fanfare as the first class of legends was inducted. President Gerald Ford was among the luminaries on hand to welcome the Hall’s first class, which included 13 of the game’s greatest. Patty Berg, Walter Hagen, Ben Hogan, Robert Tyre Jones, Jr., Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Harry Vardon and Babe Zaharias were all honored in the first induction class.
PHOTO ABOVE: (Back row L-R) Isao Aoki, Sir Michael Bonallack, Sandy Lyle, Sir Bob Charles, Tony Jacklin, Carol Mann and Ken Schofield (Middle row L-R) Amy Alcott, Pat Bradley, Hollis Stacy, Donna Caponi Byrnes, Curtis Strange, Judy Rankin and Peter Thomson (Front row L-R) Gary Player, Annika Sorenstam, David Graham, Mark O’Meara, Nancy Lopez and Arnold Palmer pose as they attend the World Golf Hall of Fame Induction at St Andrews University on July 13, 2015 in St Andrews, Scotland. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)