Former European Number One and two-time Major Champion Retief Goosen will join the list of all-time greats when he is enshrined into the World Golf Hall of Fame at an induction ceremony on June 10, 2019.
The South African, affectionately referred to as ‘Goose’, will earn the award in the Male Competitor Category in recognition of a sterling playing career, which was highlighted by two U.S. Open victories and the distinction of being the first non-European golfer to top the European Tour’s Order of Merit in successive seasons when he did so in 2001 and 2002.
“I was standing on the putting green hitting a few putts and then this number rings which I didn't recognise,” he said. “But I thought maybe I'd pick it up, and it was Gary Player on the phone. It's always great hearing Gary's voice, but he sounded extremely excited, and when he told me, yeah, I sounded very excited.
“It was a great moment, and I felt shaky after that. I missed a lot of putts, but it was very exciting. We can't wait for the actual day to come around, and getting to that great place, the Hall of Fame.”
In total, the 49 year old amassed an astounding 33 professional victories worldwide, including 14 wins on the European Tour, while spending more than 250 weeks inside the Official World Golf Ranking’s top ten from 2001 and 2007.
His first of two U.S. Open triumphs came in 2001 at Southern Hills when he defeated American Mark Brooks by two shots in an 18-hole Monday play-off, which marked both his first Major and his first win on US soil.
After topping the European Tour’s Order of Merit, and earning Player of the Year honours following a three-win season in 2001, Goosen successfully carried his form into the following season.
In 2002 he recorded a second-place finish at the Masters Tournament along with an eight-shot victory at the Johnnie Walker Classic which helped him to reign supreme atop the European Tour Order of Merit for a second successive campaign.
The ‘Goose’ validated his maiden Major win three years later at the 2004 U.S. Open on a now infamous Shinnecock Hills set-up.
Regarded as one of the greatest Sunday putting performances in golfing history, Goosen’s 11 one-putts on the firm and fiery greens propelled him to a two-stroke victory over Phil Mickelson, the only other player to finish under par for the championship. The Polokwane native carded a 71 and lifted the trophy on a day where the field-scoring average was north of 78.
Fittingly, Goosen will officially become a Member of the World Golf Hall of Fame next year at Pebble Beach Golf Links amidst the 119th edition of the U.S. Open.
Joining Goosen in the ‘Class of 2019’ are Billy Payne, Dennis Walters and the late Peggy Kirk Bell, who will each be inducted in the Lifetime Achievement Category, as well as Jan Stephenson, who will enter the Hall of Fame in the Female Competitor Category.