NEW YORK | They squared a circle in Wall Street. To a cacophony of the sounds of New York City from outside, and to cheers, tears and laughter from inside the building, Davis Love III, Meg Mallon and Lorena Ochoa were among those inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Tuesday evening. Nearly 700 people saw these titans of American golf stand, speak and be acknowledged for what they have done in golf, what they have stood for in their long and successful careers in the game.
In all there were 37 Hall of Famers present in what Cara Robinson, the British-born host, described as one of the most glittering gatherings of golfers and those in golf ever. They had won thousands of tournaments between them, hundreds of major tournaments and this was their night. The ceremony came near the start of the week when the Presidents Cup, the team event between the US and the International team, was taking place just a few miles away across the Hudson River.
One by one Mallon, Ochoa and finally Love took to the stage, were clapped and cheered and then paid tribute to the people who had helped them along their journeys. Meg Mallon was gracious and charming and accomplished. Lorena Ochoa Reyes was hilarious, often poking fun at herself and her English. Davis Love brought the house down when he introduced his granddaughter to the stage to help demonstrate the longevity of the careers and the depth of the involvement in golf of the Love family.
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It was a high-risk strategy. What if the blonde tot had burst into tears, or asked a question when her grandfather was speaking? True pro that she was, she played her part to perfection, making her entrance and giving a shy wave.
And the squaring of the circle? Oh yes. The induction at the same ceremony of Ian Woosnam, one of the five Europeans who along with Seve Ballesteros, Sir Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle and Bernhard Langer helped revive the fortunes of European golf in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. “Woosie” played for or captained nine Ryder Cup teams, was world No. 1 and, as Gary Player pointed out, is the only golfer of similar ability to be shorter than Player. Short on the tee but long off it, Player said of the Welshman.
And in the Lifetime Achievement category, Henry Longhurst, the eminent British writer and broadcaster, was inducted, almost 40 years after his death. He had written for The Sunday Times of London for 40 years, a column appearing every week for 22 of those years, and then moved seamlessly into commentating on golf, first for the BBC and then on ABC and CBS, among others, in the US. He was known almost as much for his silences as the golden tapestries of his commentaries. He was one of the game’s first TV personalities and on Tuesday night, in Wall Street, New York City, he and the four other inductees were lauded to the skies.
Watch John Hopkins deliver Longhurst’s induction speech:
Watch all Hall of Fame induction videos at Golf Channel.