World Golf Hall of Fame 2012 Induction Ceremony – KEEP WORKING AT IT and LIVE YOUR DREAM

Posted by: Rick Pariani in Golf, News, WGV Events

560367_10150705459604335_54830079334_9567396_1460993883_nWhen Dan Jenkins was running on passion and raw talent, he befriended his fellow Texan, the great Ben Hogan. Ben became his mentor and gave him lessons on the game of golf. At the crossroads of Dan’s golf ability – Ben wanted him to achieve more and tried to coax him to commit to the game. Dan, a bit frustrated with his swing, told Ben, “I just want to be a sportswriter – I’ve always wanted to be a sportswriter”.

As Dan tells it – Ben paused and riveted him with an amour-piercing look – held eye-to-eye for an uncomfortably long time – then simply said, “Keep working at it”.

The rest is history because Dan Jenkins went on to become the greatest and most revered sportswriter in America – always working at his craft.

562244_10150789948059335_54830079334_9712277_83871486_nThe folks and fans that were fortunate to be a part of the sold-out crowd in attendance at the World Golf Hall of Fame 2012 Induction Ceremony heard this story, along with many others – told live and in-person by the 2012 Inductees.

Monday, May 7th, marked the induction of the Class of 2012 which included Dan Jenkins, Lifetime Achievement; Sandy Lyle, International Inductee; Hollis Stacy, Veterans Category; Peter Alliss, Lifetime Achievement; and Phil Mickelson, PGA TOUR Inductee.

Each inductee was first introduced, via a video presentation. In each case, the video spokesperson then took the stage to introduce the inductee. This sequence was both professional and intimate and worked well to highlight the personal and powerful impact each inductee has had on the game.

Making the ceremony very special, all five inductees and their five presenters participated in person.

Those appearing to pay their respects as part of the Member Roll Call included, among others, Judy Rankin, Nancy Lopez, Louise Suggs, Marlene Stewart Streit, Deane Beman, Pete Dye, Johnny Miller and the World Golf Hall of Fame Ambassador, Gary Player.

Dan-Jenkins-263x300Dan Jenkins became the first living sportswriter to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame and this June he will cover his 211th major event at the U.S. Open in San Francisco. Mr. Jenkins’ first major was at the 1951 U.S. Open.

On the podium, in thanks and celebration, Dan said he was thankful to be honored and inducted, “especially as a vertical human”.

During his address, Dan reflected on the changes he has witnessed over the sixty-five or so years he has been writing about golf. He said so much has changed that it won’t be long before the only thing left will be “vampires, text messages and a lone voice saying turn left at the next intersection”.

Dan closed his remarks by saying that he wanted two statements on his tombstone. The first one, “I knew this would happen”. The second one, “You guys hold it down; I’m off to the next adventure”.

Dan entertained, inspired and rallied the crowd and set up a wonderfully engaging evening of story telling. He was the first of the evening, but not the last, to induce loud and long laughter.

01717Sandy Lyle followed with his dry and winning wit – telling the audience that only eleven Scots had been inducted – and the first ten were already dead when honored. Mr. Lyle is a Member of the Order of the British Empire and was the penultimate example of tradition and etiquette.

His good friend and role model, the loveable Spanish champion Severiano (Seve) Ballesteros, once said of Sandy, “If we were all playing our very best, there would be only one winner, every time; and that would be Sandy Lyle”.

At the invincible age of 16, Sandy decided to become a golfer. His father’s words of wisdom included; “make sure you beat the three B’s: birds, booze and boredom” and make sure to always exhibit “tempo before temper”.

At the Riviera Club in California – after his first round of golf in which the young Tiger Woods was in the field – Sandy was interviewed in the press tent. Sandy was asked, “What do you think of Tiger Woods?”. Sandy responded, “I don’t think I have ever played that course”.

Even the gentlemanly Mr. Lyle was able to bring down the house with that line.

pp_Stacy_Hollis_lgWhen Hollis Stacy was feted, she was the perfectly-gentile southern-charmer. She comes from a family of ten children – raised on the Georgia coast in Savannah – where to this day she remains “in love with the ecosystem of the humid south”.

Hollis described her sisters and brothers as being her fans, her competitors and her very best friends.

She grew up learning how to live with chaos and how to manage all those things that weren’t in her control. Hollis shared that her mother was the reason for her engrained and repeatable tempo on the course and that the secret to her tournament success was her short game.

While a lot of folks were “experimenting” during the hippie years, Ms. Stacy became the only player ever to win a Junior Championship title three times – winning it in 1969, 1970 and 1971.

Hollis said that golf mirrored life, for she always learned from her mistakes – and the learning led to winning.

At the conclusion of her remarks, Hollis lingered on stage as if she had something more to share. When the applause died down – you could hear her ask the ceremony host Dan Hicks, “Do I just stand here”. Then after realizing she was to exit the stage – she paused and said to her family, before walking off, just like a jubilant little girl, “I did it!”

It was touching, sweet and sincere.

simageFor thirty-seven years, Peter Alliss, “The Voice of Golf”, held the record as the largest baby by weight ever born in Europe. He was a really big baby and he went on to become the first and biggest golf commentator in history.

He said he came out ready to work at birth but allowed that he spent his career “waffling along and just being observant”. Peter claims to have “never really worked very hard” and that he was fortunate to have “things fall into my lap”.

His family has been a part of the sport of golf for over one hundred years and Mr. Alliss, like Mr. Jenkins, says he has seen dramatic change in the sport. Oddly and unusually, Peter claims that the invention of the cylindrical mower may prove to be the greatest contribution to the game. 

Mr. Alliss – while looking at Phil Mickelson sitting in the front row with his photogenic-family – guaranteed the audience that the greatest golfers of all time were the early ones scoring par or better, playing with inferior equipment on inferior courses in inferior conditions for the simple love of the game.

Although Peter still broadcasts for the BBC and is truly happy at home – he said that some of his best times and memories were in concert with the ABC broadcasting crew. Of course, he qualified that by saying he was paid astronomical sums, was put up in the finest hotels with incredible food and could ride the Concorde back and forth if schedules dictated – a great gig if you can get it.

Mr. Alliss told a ribald tale about an encounter, when young, with the headmistress, Mrs. Violet Weymouth, who claimed, “Peter does have a brain, but he’s rather loathe to use it.” “I fear for his future” were the last words Mrs. Weymouth wrote in his report.

At the end of the story, Peter concluded with, “If there is such a thing as heaven and if people do look down (as he looked up) well, mom, dad, here we are. Look at this. Look where I’ve been, look what I’ve done. Never worked very hard at it. But it’s fallen into place. Lovely family, lovely wife, looks after me, shouts a bit occasionally. But they are remarkable. They put up with all my nonsense and I love them dearly”.

Then the kicker came. Peter said, “And, Mrs. Weymouth, if you’re there” — as he flashed his pointed middle finger, likewise upward. The gesture drew deep, belly-laughs and a good amount of audible shock. That one probably was edited from the TV broadcast, although assuredly shown in Britain. 

Before Peter turned the stage over to the evening’s highlight, Mr. Mickelson – he shared his opinion about his visit to the World Golf Village and the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Peter made it clear that he wanted to say a few things – not because it was expected or the right, polite thing to do – but because he was truly impressed. Mr. Alliss told the attendees that he was glad he visited such a remarkable facility.

He said the World Golf Village was a “Disney-like, stunning place – quite magical really – and not just the beautiful museum and hall – but the whole experience – coming in the main road and seeing the gardens and all the trees and the care of this place”.

He galvanized his observations by saying, “I know – I’ve seen quite a bit all around the world – and this place is special”.

With the crowd totally engaged and eager for more – PGA TOUR Commissioner, Tim Finchem, previewed Phil Mickelson as “The People’s Champion”.

After Phil’s lifelong coach and friend, Steve Loy gave a teary-eyed introduction – an eagle-making gallery-roar and standing ovation greeted the friendly lefty.

01810Phil, at the age of 41, has won 40 Championships, 4 Major titles, 1 Players Championship and has played in 9 President’s Cups and 8 Ryder Cups. Yet, he was inducted as much for being a genuine role model as for his performance and record.

Phil is recognized as being one of the most prolific, positive contributors to the image of the sport. He has put family first and has supported numerous charitable causes for youth, education and military families and their soldiers. He is also appreciated by the TOUR leadership for his “professional comportment”.

Next to Arnold (the King) Palmer, Phil has generated more enthusiasm for the sport and its fans and spectators, than any other active player. He balances a keen concentration on his game with an animated recognition of the fans – interacting with them whenever he can through eye-contact, greetings, hand-shakes and many autographs.

Phil advised, “to fulfill your dreams you have to dream big”.

He said, “Golf was the basis for my dream”. His dream started when he was given his first club at the toddler age of 18 months. That club is now enshrined in his memorabilia showcase at the Hall of Fame – its head secured to the shaft with what looks to be electrician’s tape.

Phil remembers his achievements on the golf course by reflecting on his most important family events.

For instance, the day after the 1999 U.S. Open on the No. 2 Course of the Pinehurst Resort, his first daughter Amanda was born. The indelible image of that tournament’s winner, the knickers-clad Payne Stewart, with his arm thrust out and leg kicked up – is what most fans have etched in their memories.

What most fans don’t know – is what Payne Stewart was saying to Phil in the other memorable image after he had beaten him on the 72nd and final hole of play.

Instead of the traditional hand shake and shoulder clap to congratulate one’s opponent – in that second image Payne is seen holding Phil’s head with both hands clapped to Phil’s cheeks – talking to him almost nose-to-nose.

Payne was actually congratulating Phil in his own style, enthusiastically saying, “You are going to be a father – that is the greatest thing on earth”. The next day, Amanda was born and for Phil, Payne’s sentiments rang true.

Likewise, Phil reflects on his first Masters win in 2004 by thinking of his second daughter Sophia jumping into his arms with her billowing, curly blond hair. He remembers the antics of his son, Evan – high-fiving the security line-up – after his 2005 win in the PGA Championship at Baltusrol.

Phil made sure to shower glowing praise on his wife while demonstrating his unwavering love for her and his children.

Then he took the time to thank the fans.

Phil said that it was the energy of the fans that pulls him through. He promised he would “continue to reciprocate by launching numerous drives in their general direction”.

With visible and considerable emotion – Phil concluded by saying, “thank you – I am living my dream”.


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