The late Willie Park Jr., a two-time British Open winner and noted architect in the late 1800s, will inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2013 through the Veterans Category, according to a release Thursday. He is the third member of the Class of 2013, following Fred Couples and Ken Venturi.
“Willie Park Jr.’s contributions to the game as a player, architect, innovator and writer were truly extraordinary,” said Mike Davis, USGA executive director and chairman of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors, in a statement. “He not only advanced the status of professional golfers, but also was influential in shaping the early development of golf in the United States. This is an overdue, well-deserved recognition.”
Park, whose father is also a member of the Hall of Fame, was best known as a player for his 12 top-10 finishes in the Open Championship, including victories in 1887 and 1889. After his playing career, he wrote several books and helped design or modify more than 200 courses in Europe, the U.S. and Canada, including Sunningdale Golf Club outside London.
“It is a tremendous honor for the family to have a second member recognized for his contribution to the game,” said Mungo Park, Willie Park Jr.’s great nephew and family historian. “Willie Jr., possibly more than any other, marked the transition from the old-school caddie and player to the modern professional golfer and businessman. He gave up high-stake money matches for energetic golf course design. His playing skill was undoubted, particularly with the putter, but it is his courses that provide the most impressive legacy.”
Park will be inducted on May 6, 2013, at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla. The Hall of Fame will round out the 2013 class with the International Ballot inductee, to be announced at a later date.