Its Walters Time for the Hall

RSS

It will be interesting to see how Canadian golf fans respond if Lisa Walters is inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame this week, which is a strong possibility. The guessing here is that the first reaction for anybody who isnt a hard-core golf fan is to do some quick research on the three-time LPGA Tour winner.
 
The class of 2008 will be announced on Wednesday and Walters should be one of the two inductees named in a teleconference hosted by the Royal Canadian Golf Association. Its her time, even if her name isnt the first that comes to mind for those who follow the game in this country.
 
Its been nearly seven years since the native of Prince Rupert, B.C. played her final event on the tour, where she spent the better part of 17 years following her rookie year in 1984. Walters, 48, now lives quietly with her husband Mike in Tampa.
 
Walters played during a prime time for Canadians on the tour, alongside the likes of Dawn Coe-Jones, Gail Graham and Lorie Kane, among others, but never received the attention the others got despite a comparable record with all of the aforementioned players.
 
To call Walters an introvert would be true in one sense, but not so much in another. She wasnt the type to draw attention to herself, but it wasnt because she was unfriendly. It was just her nature.
 
Walters was actually quite gregarious if you cornered her and had a pretty sharp sense of humour that made her popular among her peers, both Canadian and American.
 
Her aversion to attention is one reason that fans might need a media guide, but a ridiculous number of injuries plagued Walters over the course of her career. Over the years, knee and back problems hampered her before wrist/thumb woes forced her to retire from full-time play in 2000.
 
In this country, success on tour is measured in single digits, with Sandra Post, Mike Weir and the late George Knudson setting the standard with eight wins apiece on the PGA and LPGA Tours and Walters three wins are comparable to her Canadian contemporaries on the womens tour.
 
Walters currently has just one win less than Lorie Kane, who will certainly be named to the hall once her career is over, and is tied with the three victories posted by her pal Dawn Coe-Jones, who is already in the hall of fame. It will always be speculation, but Walters might have had more wins if not for her injuries.
 
Despite her humble nature, Walters had a knack for doing things with flair.
 
Her first victory came in paradise at the 1992 Itoki Hawaiian Ladies Open and she followed that up by defending that same title a year later. She saved the best for last, however, in her third career victory.
 
Shortly before the thumb and wrist problems that would end her career took hold, Walters won the 1998 Oldsmobile Classic in grand fashion with a 23-under score that set a new scoring standard at the time in a tournament that also saw her shoot a third round 65, which was a career best.
 
Walters may not have won a major championship, but she recorded her first career hole in one at the 1988 Nabisco Dinah Shore and finished fifth at the LPGA Championship in her rookie year, one of 23 top-10s over the course of her career, which saw her play just three tournaments in 1999 and 2000.
 
Also a standout in amateur golf, Walters won the 1977 British Columbia junior championship, as well as three consecutive provincial amateur championships and became an all-American at Florida State, where people would often joke that her home town was closer to Russia than Florida.
 
What fans will discover should they be forced to check out her stats on Wednesday is that Walters record speaks for itself. even if she isnt the type to speak out herself.
 
If all is right with the world, it might be a good idea to get an early start on that research before the announcement is made on Wednesday.
 
Email your thoughts to Ian Hutchinson
 
Toronto Sun Editor's Note: Ian Hutchinson is golf columnist for the Toronto Sun and senior writer for Pro Shop Magazine, a Canadian golf trade publication, and Canadian Golfer Magazine. He is also a frequent contributor to Golf Scene and Golf Canada Magazine, the official magazine of the Royal Canadian Golf Association.