The ‘Voice of Golf’ Peter Alliss and double Major Champion Sandy Lyle took their places in the World Golf Hall of Fame this evening as the Class of 2012 was inducted during an impressive ceremony at the World Golf Village in Florida.
Alliss and Lyle were joined by American sportswriting legend Dan Jenkins, four-time Major winner Phil Mickelson and three-time U.S. Women’s Open Champion Hollis Stacy in receiving “Golf’s Highest Honour.”
Speaking ahead of the ceremony, Lyle said he was “very humble” as he looked round the Hall of Fame and the vast collection of memorabilia, which now includes his own iconic exhibits such as the Green Jacket and items from his 1985 Open Championship victory.
And asked what those inducted into the Hall of Fame had in common, Lyle said: “I think they've all got their own categories, from the Sam Sneads to the Tom Morrises that are in there from way, way back in the 18th century. But it's all about playing golf, making a score. Whatever the conditions of the golf courses were, they had to produce a score at the end of it.
“The distance golfers hit the ball has gone crazy but they've still got to put a score on the board, no matter if it was in the 18th century or now in 2012. They've all got their stories but they're still playing golf.”
The induction took place on the first anniversary of the passing of Seve Ballesteros, and Lyle recalled their first meeting – when he was aged only 16 and paired with Seve in a Pro-Am. A few years later they were both on Tour, and “like a couple of gunslingers we were checking each other out, is he better than me, am I better than him”.
“He loved to win, we all loved to win, but he did it with great theatre,” said Lyle.
Alliss was similarly awed by the World Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, his exhibits now proudly on display.
“To see the bits and pieces that my wife has put together, it makes you very proud of your family and what you've done in your life and what your father did. The only reason I went into the game of golf was because my father was a golf professional, and I followed on.
“It's a very sobering and a very humbling thing to see, particularly when it's been done so beautifully.”
Their inclusion took the membership to the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum to 141 members.
“We are thrilled to welcome the Class of 2012,” said Jack Peter, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame. “With Inductees from on and off the course and from the United States and Europe, this class demonstrates the wonderful diversity in golf and the Hall of Fame’s membership. We’re honoured to have each of them in the Hall of Fame family.”
The Class of 2012:
Alliss, known as “The Voice of Golf,” began his commentating career with the BBC in 1961 at The Open Championship won by Arnold Palmer at Royal Birkdale. In 2011, he broadcast his 50th consecutive Open Championship.
Son of Percy Alliss, one of the finest players of his generation, Alliss turned professional when still only 15. He won 23 tournaments worldwide during the 1950s and ‘60s, including three British PGA Championships. He was selected for every Great Britain Ryder Cup team except one from 1953 to 1969. He has also been associated with the design of more than 50 courses and is a respected author of more than 20 golf books.
Jenkins is regarded as one of America’s greatest sportswriters. His chronicles of Texas golf in the 1950s, specifically of Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson, are legendary. When Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer were starring in the 1960s and ‘70s, Jenkins was at Sports Illustrated, reporting on their exploits with award-winning stories. Jenkins, the author of several best-selling sports books, started working for Golf Digest in 1985 and still maintains a regular column.
Jenkins won the 1995 PGA Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award from the PGA of America and has been inducted into the Texas Sports and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Halls of Fame. He has won a record nine first-place awards in the Golf Writers Association of America's annual writing contest.
Lyle has won 29 tournaments worldwide, including 18 on The European Tour and three other PGA TOUR titles. His victory at the 1985 Open Championship at Royal St. George’s made him the first British winner since Tony Jacklin in 1969. He broke new ground at the 1987 PLAYERS Championship, defeating Jeff Sluman in a play-off to become its first international champion.
Lyle made history again at the 1988 Masters, making birdie on the 18th hole to become Augusta National’s first British winner. He was a member of five European Ryder Cup teams, including the winning sides in 1985 and 1987.
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Mickelson’s career is highlighted by his four Major Championship titles: the 2004, 2006 and 2010 Masters; and the 2005 PGA Championship. He has 36 additional PGA TOUR wins, including the 2007 PLAYERS Championship and the 2009 TOUR Championship, as well as three international victories.
Known as “Lefty” by his legions of fans, Mickelson has competed for the United States on eight Ryder Cup teams and nine Presidents Cup sides. Mickelson is the only player, for either team, to participate in every Presidents Cup since the event’s inception in 1994.
Stacy’s career was defined by her successes in USGA events. She charged onto the golf scene by winning US Girls' Junior Championship titles from 1969-71 and remains the only player ever to win that event three consecutive times. As a professional, she won US Women’s Open Championships in 1977, 1978 and 1984. Stacy added another Major title in 1983, when she won the Peter Jackson Classic (later named the du Maurier Classic).
During her 26-year LPGA career, Stacy collected 18 victories. In one stretch from 1977 to 1983, she registered 82 top-ten finishes.
Each Inductee donated memorabilia from their outstanding careers for inclusion in special Inductee Exhibits at the Hall of Fame. They include a case in Shell Hall and a permanent space in the Member Locker Room. The exhibits will be open to the public on May 8.
For more information about the World Golf Hall of Fame, the Induction Ceremony or to learn more about the 2011 Class of Inductees, visit www.WorldGolfHallofFame.org