Willie Park Jr. to join World Golf Hall of Fame

15/11/2012 19:36:47
2009 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony  (Getty Images)
2009 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (Getty Images)

The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum will induct Willie Park Jr. as part of the Class of 2013. Along with his father, World Golf Hall of Fame member Willie Park Sr., Park helped form one of the legendary families in golf history. He is the third member of the Class of 2013 and will be inducted through the Veterans Category.

Park will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at its Induction Ceremony on Monday, May 6, 2013, at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida. The Ceremony will once again kick off THE PLAYERS Championship week.

Park is one of the Open Championship’s most distinguished players, winning in 1887 and 1889 while compiling 12 top-10 finishes in golf’s oldest major. He also did pioneering work in many other areas of the game both in Europe and the United States.

"Willie Park Jr.’s contributions to the game as a player, architect, innovator and writer were truly extraordinary," said Mike Davis, USGA Executive Director and chairman of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors. “He not only advanced the status of professional golfers, but also was influential in shaping the early development of golf in the United States. This is an overdue, well-deserved recognition.”

Park was born in Musselburgh, Scotland in 1864; four years after his father won the first Open Championship at Prestwick. Young Willie quickly took to the family business of ball and club making. He developed a reputation as an outstanding player and played his first Open Championship as a 16-year-old in 1880.

After five top-10 finishes without a victory, Park finally broke through and won the Open title in 1887, fittingly at Prestwick. Park added his second Open title in 1889 at another special place, his home of Musselburgh – the last time it was played there.

Park used his prowess as a player as a springboard to other feats within the game. He continued pioneering ball and club design, registering several patents and expanding the family business. Park's seminal 1896 book “The Game of Golf” was the first about golf written by a professional golfer. His widely acclaimed “The Art of Putting” was published in 1920.

Park made an impressive mark in golf course architecture as well, having designed or modified more than 200 courses in Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Sunningdale Golf Club outside of London is one of his most famous designs. His success in this arena carried him to the United States and Canada in 1916, where he continued to design courses of the highest quality, including the Maidstone Club in New York and Royal Quebec.

"It is a tremendous honour for the family to have a second member recognised for his contribution to the game,” said Mungo Park, Willie Park Jr.’s great nephew and family historian. “Willie Jnr, possibly more than any other, marked the transition from the old-school caddy and player to the modern professional golfer and businessman. He gave up high-stake money matches for energetic golf course design. His playing skill was undoubted, particularly with the putter, but it is his courses that provide the most impressive legacy.”

Park joins Fred Couples and Ken Venturi in the Class of 2013. The Hall of Fame will round out the Class, including the International Ballot, in a future announcement.

“The addition of Willie Park Jr. to the Hall of Fame is a significant one,” said Hall of Fame Chief Operating Officer Jack Peter. “The Hall of Fame celebrates the rich history of the game, and that story cannot be told without the tremendous contributions of the Park family. To have Willie Park Jr. join his father in the Hall of Fame is truly fitting.”

Tickets and travel packages to the 2013 Induction Ceremony will be available on Nov. 1, 2012. For more information on the Induction Ceremony and the World Golf Hall of Fame, visit www.WorldGolfHallofFame.org.