Pages 4-7 From Winter 2010 Florida Golf Magazine ©Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at
To advertise in Florida Golf Magazine in print and on-line, phone 863-227-2751 and/or email



The 2009 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

The stage at the 2009 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony between two giant video screens.

The Induction of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Christy O'Connor, José María Olazábal and Lanny Wadkins

By Joe Stine
        The stars were out and shining at the 2009 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at World Golf Village in St. Augustine Florida on Monday evening, November 2nd, 2009. Golf Legend, Arnold Palmer was among the many other Hall of Fame members, golf dignitaries, family and friends that were on hand to welcome four new members of the World Golf Hall of Fame at its annual Induction Ceremony. The 2009 inductees - President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Christy O'Connor, José María Olazábal and Lanny Wadkins bring the total number of Hall of Fame members to 124

Arnold Palmer spoke on behalf
of the late President Eisenhower.

On the big screen, Seve Ballesteros introduced
José Olazábal, via video.

2009 HOF Inductee Christy O'Connor via video
shot from his home in Ireland.

José Olazábal giving acceptance speech

        José María Olazábal, the first person to be inducted that night, was the second Spaniard to earn his spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Ten years ago his fellow countrymen and close friend, Seve Ballesteros, was inducted into the Hall.
        Olazábal was introduced by 45-time European Tour winner and five time Major Champion, Hall of Fame member, Seve Ballesteros, via video shot from his home in Spain. Fans worldwide have been concerned with Seve's health and well-being as he's battled cancer since last fall.
        Toward the end of Olazábal’s acceptance speech he spoke of Ballesteros saying, “There's one more person that I want to thank, and that is my dear friend Seve. He deserves it. Not many people know this, but he gave me a call when I was 15 years old and asked me to play in a charity match against him at his home club in Pedrena, and I said yes without knowing the implications of that answer in my future career.
        Something really special happened that day. I don't know what it was, but it was truly special. Because a few years later I played in my first Ryder Cup at Muirfield Village. I was a 21-year-old boy; and the captain, I guess, didn't know what to do with me. And Seve approached the captain, Tony Jacklin, and said, “Tony, I will play with Oly”. And the rest is history. I was never a genius like you, Seve, but I did the best I could, and as my mentor, all I can hope for is that you're proud of me.
        28 years ago you opened a circle and somehow that circle closes today. I want to thank you for all the wonderful memories you have given me and for all you have done for the game of golf.”
        World renowned professional golfer Christy O'Connor was also honored at the 2009 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. His nephew, who is also named ‘Christy O'Connor’, accepted the award for his uncle and spoke that night on his behalf. In a recorded video from his home in Ireland, Christy O'Connor said, “George O'Grady rang me from London and I thought at the moment that somebody was playing a big joke on me. It didn't dawn to me for a moment that I was good enough to have that honor, which is one of the great honors in the world.
        A few days afterwards Jack Peter came along. He said, I'm over here to invite you into the Hall of Fame. So I said, Well, now it's not a joke. I know this is quite all right.”
        At 84, Christy is considered by his countrymen as golf royalty, much the same way as Arnold Palmer is fondly referred to as 'the King' in the US. Reports are O'Connor has slowed only slightly over the past few years and is still very involved with the Royal Dublin Golf Club where he has been its professional for 50 years.

Picture at right, President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the big screen at the 2009 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

         Arnold Palmer spoke at the 2009 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on behalf of the late President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He shared with the attendees, many of the details of his great friendship with President Eisenhower. He also said that the President called him Arnie and insisted that Palmer call him Ike.
        After speaking at great length about his fond memories of their friendship Palmer ended by saying, “I think that what President Eisenhower did for this country, for the world is something that will go on and on for many, many years. What he did for the game of golf brought attention to the game of golf around the world and certainly rates him as one of the highest contributors of the game. He was my friend. He was a friend of America, and he was a friend of the world. And I certainly am happy to help induct him into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Thank you very much.

Picture below, Lanny Wadkins at World Golf Hall of Fame

        Lanny Wadkins was also honored by induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame that night and at his request was introduced by his long time personal friend, CBS sports host, Jim Nantz.
After Lanny's nearly two decades as part of U.S. Ryder Cup teams, Wadkins joined with Nantz in the broadcast booth at CBS from 2002 to 2006.
        In talking about his friend, Nantz listed not only his multitude of amateur and professional victories but also pointed out his illustrious record, as a team player, saying, “Lanny also loved representing his country. Two Walker Cups, the World Am, three World Cups and eight Ryder Cup teams. You can argue that Lanny might be the best American performer in Ryder Cup history. At the very least he's on the short list for that discussion.
        Lanny Wadkins’ acceptance speech was dignified yet humorous. His many years at CBS had more than gained him the ability to entertain the audience at the World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
        At one point during his speech Wadkins said, “And one of the things about being around your heroes is seeing their real personality coming out. I was fortunate to be around Hogan enough to see that personality and enjoy his company.
        One year we were in Houston and Ben and I decided to go see Jackie Burke over at Champions. We made the drive over and we walked into the pro shop at Champions. Before we say a word, Jackie sees us coming and he says, “Boys, see this putter?” And he holds up a mallet head putter he just took out of the rack. He said, “Before I'm done” -- you have to understand, Jackie's in his 60s at this point in time. He said, “Before I'm done, they'll have this putter in a glass case with candles lit at both ends, I'm going to win so much with it.”
        That's the optimism of a golfer: Always going to win, always going to get better. And I can only thank Jackie Burke and say that that's how I feel tonight. I'm telling my two boys that I've got a putter in my bag; they may not put it in a glass case and light candles at both ends of it, but by the time I'm done, I'm going to climb the Wadkins ladder, boys. So watch out, I'm coming!
        Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your evening.”

Glenn Harrington, was commissioned to create this year's class portrait, L-R 2009 World Golf Hall of Fame Inductees,
Christy O'Connor, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, José María Olazábal and Lanny Wadkins

Hundreds of Artifacts Featured in the World Golf Hall of Fame Class of 2009 Inductee Displays

        Special displays recounting the historic paths of each of the 2009 Inductees (Dwight D. Eisenhower, Christy O’Connor, José María Olazábal and Lanny Wadkins) are currently on display at the World Golf Hall of Fame.
        “We are grateful to this year’s inductees and their families as they have been incredibly accommodating to provide their most prized possessions so that the Hall of Fame can share their stories with golf fans who come to visit from around the world,” said Jack Peter, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame. “Literally hundreds of artifacts and some of the most amazing, rare photographs help tell their accomplished life stories which have brought them into the Hall of Fame. Guests are going to love what they see.”
        Selected in the Lifetime Achievement Category, Eisenhower is the first president to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. In cooperation with the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library and Museum, the Hall of Fame is showcasing several items that characterize “Ike’s” love of golf, including his Green Jacket, a personal planner and a tie and patch from Augusta National Golf Club, of which he was a member from 1948 to 1969. Items also have been loaned to the Hall of Fame from Eisenhower’s close friend, Arnold Palmer, including a painting the late president fashioned for Palmer and delivered in person on his 37th birthday.

World Golf Hall of Fame exhibit for 2009 Inductee President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lanny Wadkins

        The display for Lanny Wadkins, elected on the PGA TOUR Ballot, includes several artifacts representing his domination on the U.S. Ryder Cup Teams between the late 1970s and the early 1990s, including all eight Ryder Cup bags and money clips. Numerous medals and trophies he earned en route to his 21 wins on the PGA TOUR are on display, as is the MacGregor Custom driver he used to capture the 1977 PGA Championship. In 1970, while attending Wake Forest, Wadkins produced one of the greatest years in amateur golf, winning the U.S. Amateur, Southern Amateur, Western Amateur and the World Amateur Team Championship. Several pieces on display represent that feat.

World Golf Hall of Fame exhibit for 2009 Inductees Christy O'Connor and José María Olazábal

        The display for Christy O’Connor, who was selected in the Veterans Category, features dozens of clubs and trophies he earned during a career that spanned four decades and included 24 European Tour titles and 10 Ryder Cup appearances. His trophy commemorating the 1970 John Player Classic, when he won the richest prize in golf at the time, is also on display, as is his 1962 Harry Vardon Trophy, signifying his position as the only Irishman to have won the European Tour Order of Merit twice. The Carrolls International trophy he received for winning the tournament a third time in 1967, which features a design based on his swing is also included. Several of O’Connor’s Ryder Cup items are also showcased, including his European team bag from 1969, the eighth of his then-record 10 consecutive Ryder Cup appearances, a bar he set for consistent performance over three different decades.
        The display for two-time Masters Champion Olazabal, elected on the International Ballot, includes several items representing that achievement. Among those items are his silver 1994 Masters clubhouse trophy, and the metalwoods and putter he used to win that event. Additionally the set of clubs he used to win his second Masters in 1999 is also on exhibition. His entire collection of major championship contestant badges from The Masters, The Open Championship, the U.S. Open and PGA Championship are on display as well. His exhibit also showcases his Ryder Cup career, his success on the European Tour and as an amateur, as he is the only one to have ever won the British Boys Amateur Golf Championship, the British Youth’s Open Golf Championship and The Amateur Championship. All three of those R&A trophies will be on display.

        In addition to the Inductee Exhibits, each new member has a dedicated locker in the Hall’s Member Locker Room, which features additional artifacts and personal memorabilia to offer guests a glimpse into their lives.
        The 2009 Inductee Exhibits will remain on display in the center of the museum, Shell Hall, for a year and then will move into other recent inductee areas.

Featured Exhibits
        When you visit the World Golf Hall of Fame, you never know what you will see around the next corner. Special exhibits are planned throughout the year and new items are added on a regular basis giving you a reason to return again and again.

Now Open -
‘Bob Hope: Shanks For The Memory ‘
        In the Bob Hope Exhibit guests will find rich storytelling alongside more than 400 artifacts as they wind through a variety of set pieces designed to reflect the different eras and locations significant to Hope’s life, including England, Cleveland, New York, Hollywood, Palm Springs, Washington D.C. and sites of USO shows around the world.

“If you love golf,
you’ve got to go.”

Pages 4-7 From Winter 2010 Florida Golf Magazine ©Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at
To advertise in Florida Golf Magazine in print and on-line, phone 863-227-2751 and/or email