Golf's premier shotmaker took his share of shots -- the kind that go whizzing past the ear -- while flying in a helicopter across the country to quell various uprisings.
'I spent two years in the Air Force. That was good fun, except for being shot at,' Price said. 'I fired back a few times, but I didn't know where I was shooting.'
He didn't know where life would lead as his Air Force stint was ending. Price's mother encouraged him to build on his amateur success, to give professional golf a try to see if he was good enough. If not, he could find another career.
'In the back of my mind, I wanted to be a professional, but that was a dream,' he said. 'I just didn't know if I was ever going to make the grade.'
Price dominated the game like Jack Nicklaus two decades before him and like Tiger Woods does now. He won three major championships, 41 tournaments worldwide, enormous respect from his peers and, finally, a spot in the Hall of Fame.
'He's one of the greatest players we've ever had, as well as one of the greatest guys out here,' Davis Love III said. 'People forget how great he played for so many years. For that one stretch, he played Tiger Woods-Jack Nicklaus dominating golf.'
Price was to be inducted Monday night along with Annika Sorenstam (LPGA), the late Leo Diegel (veteran's category) and Japanese star Chako Higuchi (lifetime achievement).
He was elected through the PGA Tour ballot, receiving 76 percent of the vote. Only 65 percent is required.
Diegel won 31 times on the PGA Tour, including the PGA Championship in 1928 and 1929, ending Walter Hagen's four-year reign. Diegel, who died in 1951, also played on the first Ryder Cup team.
Higuchi is the only Japanese player to win a major, capturing the 1977 LPGA Championship. Most of her success was on the Japanese LPGA, where she won more than 70 titles.
Sorenstam became the 100th member of the World Golf Hall of Fame last week by completing her 10th year on the LPGA Tour. She took care of the golf requirements more than three years ago, and enters at age 33 with 47 victories, the career Grand Slam and a historic performance on the PGA Tour at the Colonial.
'I'm still in my prime,' Sorenstam said. 'To be in the Hall of Fame, it kind of makes me sound old. 'But I feel younger than ever.'
A little known fact about Price: He started playing as a lefty. Price walked onto a golf course for the first time when he was 8, but only because his brother needed someone to tote his canvas bag.
'There must have been 40 (clubs), a hodgepodge of everything,' Price said. 'It had one left-handed club. I pulled out this 5-iron and started whacking it down the fairway.'
He switched sides when he couldn't find enough clubs, and the passion grew.
Price often sneaked onto Sherwood Golf Club in Salsbury, which had four holes on one side of the road.
'You could see on the 15th green anyone coming on the 13th tee,' he said. 'If anyone was coming, we ran into the tall, elephant grass and hid there. When the guys went by, we'd come back and play.'
Price won the prestigious Junior World championship in San Diego in 1974, spent his two years in the Air Force, then embarked on a Hall of Fame career.
When he was on, he was unbeatable.
He beat Nicklaus by four shots at Firestone at the '83 World Series, an important victory because it gave him a 10-year exemption on the PGA Tour. Price won his first major in the '92 PGA Championship at Bellerive, the start of a stretch in which he won nine times in 15 months.
He was streaky with the putter, but nearly perfect with his driving and irons.
'When you're strong in one department, that is a God-given gift,' Price said. 'Just like my driving, I had a natural gift. I always felt good when the ball sat on a piece of wood, an inch-and-a-half off the ground.'
He still plays pretty good, too.
Price enters the Hall of Fame at 46. He is still in the top 15 on the PGA Tour money list and in the world ranking, and he figures to be a key player in the Presidents Cup next month in South Africa.
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