Kite Headlines Hall of Fame Class

By Sports NetworkApril 22, 2004, 4:00 pm
World Golf Hall of FameSAVANNAH, Ga. -- Tom Kite, Isao Aoki, Charlie Sifford and Marlene Stewart Streit will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame later this year.
 
The inductions will take place Nov.15 at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Fla. This marks the 30th anniversary of the first class inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
 
Kite was elected on the PGA Tour ballot and is a 19-time winner on the PGA Tour, including the 1992 U.S. Open. He won the money title in both 1981 and 1989, the same year he captured the Player Championship.
 
Kite has six victories on the Champions Tour with one major title, the 2000 Tradition. He competed on seven Ryder Cup teams and was captain of the squad in 1997.
 
'I'm very, very pleased with this,' said Kite, who earned 69 percent of the vote. 'To be able to put your name up there on a very short list is quite a thrill. This has been a long-time dream.'
 
Two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange finished second in the voting with 55 percent, followed by Henry Picard, who tallied 52 percent of the votes.
 
Aoki was elected on the International ballot and truly embodied international golf. He won 73 times worldwide, including 56 titles in Japan, and is the only Japanese player to have won on six different tours: PGA Tour, Champions Tour, Japan Golf Tour, Japan Senior Tour, PGA European Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia.
 
'I'm happy as can be,' said Aoki, who joined countryman Hisako 'Chako' Higuchi, who was elected last year. 'I have been doing what I love.'
 
Aoki owns nine Champions Tour titles and with his victory at the 1983 Hawaiian Open, he became the first Japanese player to win on the PGA Tour.
 
Ayako Okamoto came in second on the International ballot with 36 percent, while Jumbo Ozaki claimed 31 percent.
 
Sifford reached the Hall of Fame on the Lifetime Achievement category and was instrumental in breaking racial barriers on the PGA Tour. He became the first African American to play full-time on tour and won two titles, the 1967 Greater Hartford Open and the 1969 Los Angeles Open.
 
'This is very wonderful,' said Sifford, who won the 1975 PGA Seniors Championship and was one of the original members of the Champions Tour. 'This was something I was trying to do years ago. I know I had some tough days, but it looks like everything worked out just fine.'
 
Streit was chosen in the Veterans category and is the first Canadian elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame. She is the only golfer to have won the Australian, British, Canadian and United States women's amateur championships.
 
Streit won 11 Canadian Ladies Open Amateur titles, nine Canadian Ladies Close Amateur titles and three Canadian Ladies Senior Women's Amateur tournaments. She captured four USGA events, including the 1956 U.S. Women's Amateur title. Last year she became the oldest player ever to win the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur, a title she claimed a total of three times.
 
'I'm very proud and totally overwhelmed,' said Streit. 'I love to give back to the game. This is very huge for Canada. My greatest thrill in golf has been playing for my country.'
 
Top-five finishers for both ballots:
 
PGA Tour
Tom Kite 69%
Curtis Strange 55%
Henry Picard 52%
Larry Nelson 41%
Craig Wood 40%
 
International
Isao Aoki 51%
Ayako Okamoto 36%
Jumbo Ozaki 31%
Kel Nagle 28%
Sandy Lyle 26%
 
Related Links:
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.