Two-time major champion Mark O’Meara and big-hitting Laura Davies will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2015, it was announced Wednesday.
Renowned architect A.W. Tillinghast and two-time major winner David Graham will also be inducted July 13 in Scotland, in advance of next year’s British Open at St. Andrews.
O’Meara seemed overdue for induction. The 57-year-old has 16 PGA Tour victories – one more than Fred Couples, who is already in the Hall – along with a pair of major victories (1998 Masters and British Open), a U.S. Amateur title (1979) and three European Tour wins.
“It means the world to me,” he said on “Morning Drive”. “I guess it was just a matter of time of waiting. Now that it’s come true, it’s really a dream come true for me. Nothing could put more icing on the cake for myself or my career than to have this moment come to fruition.”
Davies, meanwhile, has won 20 times on the LPGA, and 45, the most all time, on the Ladies European circuit. (In all, the Dame has 84 worldwide titles.) Most notably, she won four majors: the 1994 and ’96 LPGA Championship, the 1987 U.S. Women’s Open and the 1996 du Maurier Classic. She was the leading money winner in 1994 and the Player of the Year in ’96.
“I think it’s the pinnacle,” Davies said. “If you’ve had a great and long career, the one thing that you want is to end up in the Hall of Fame. To get the call is icing on the cake.”
Video: Mark O'Meara on his HOF selection. Click here to listen to Laura Davies.
The LPGA has a strict criteria of 27 points for induction, a total that is accumulated primarily through wins and majors. Davies has been stuck on 25 points since 2001, largely because of her worldwide schedule, and although she was eligible to be placed on the international ballot she had instructed officials to leave her name off.
“That’s always been my main thing, to earn my way into the LPGA Hall of Fame,” she said. “I’m still trying to get those two points I need, because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Earlier this year, the Hall of Fame announced changes to its induction process and that the ceremony would be held on a biennial basis. There is now a 16-person selection committee that handles the voting (75 percent approval required, or 12 of 16 votes), with a 20-person selection subcommittee responsible for vetting the candidates and nominating the finalists. Candidates qualify through four categories: male and female competition, veterans and lifetime achievement.
One of the most prolific architects of the Golden Age, Tillinghast, who died in 1942, counted Bethpage Black, Baltusrol and Winged Foot among his most famous designs.
Graham, who played during the primes of Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson, won eight times on the PGA Tour, including the 1981 U.S. Open and 1979 PGA Championship. A winner of 25 worldwide events, the Australian joined Gary Player as the only men to win tournaments on six continents. Graham, now 68, also captained the first International Presidents Cup team in 1994 before his golf career ended in 2004, because of congestive heart failure. He fell off the Hall of Fame ballot in 2000, when he earned less than 5 percent of the vote in consecutive years.