Els leads newest Hall of Fame Class


The World Golf Hall of Fame announced its newest class of inductees Wednesday morning.

Ernie Els, Doug Ford, Jock Hutchison and former U.S. President George H.W. Bush will be inducted on May 9 in a ceremony at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine during Players Championship week.

Els, 40, a three-time major championship winner with 66 worldwide titles, was the only player voted in through the PGA Tour ballot. He makes it in his first year of eligibility.

'Quite surprised,' Els said. 'I thought, for one, you had to be a little bit more senior. But, obviously, this makes the year. It makes you feel very good about maybe what you've done. Golf, you'd like to think you could have done more, and can still do more, but, obviously very, very honored to be inducted.'

Ford and the late Jock Hutchison were voted in through the veteran’s category. Ford, 88, won 19 PGA Tour titles, including the 1955 PGA Championship and the ’57 Masters. Hutchison (1884-1977) was born in Scotland and became a U.S. citizen in 1920. He won the 1920 PGA Championship and ’21 British Open and was the inaugural winner of the Senior PGA Championship in 1937 and won it again in ’47.

Ford has expressed disappointment in the past over his failure to be voted into the Hall of Fame, but he is pleased he's finally made it.

“It took a little while, but I think it’s great they’re doing this while I’m still alive,' Ford said in a statement. 'It is an honor of which I am deeply proud.” 

Bush, the 41st president of the United States and honorary chair of the First Tee program, was elected through the lifetime achievement category. He’s the second president to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Dwight D. Eisenhower was inducted last year.

Bush's honors in golf include receiving the 1997 PGA of America Distinguished Service Award, the USGA’s 2008 Bob Jones Award and the 2009 PGA TOUR Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1996, he served as honorary chairman of The Presidents Cup and has since attended every Presidents Cup.