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2012 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

I watched with interest the World Golf Hall of Fame presentations Monday night (May 7, 2012).  There, Hollis Stacy, Sandy Lyle, Dan Jenkins, Phil Mickelson, Peter Alliss, and were inducted – each had a unique perspective and story.

  • Hollis Stacy – An 18-time winner on the LPGA which includes 4 majors as well as 3 consecutive U.S. Girls titles.
  • Sandy Lyle – A Scotsman and 29-time winner world-wide with a British Open, a Masters (first British player to win), and a Players Championship included in that number.
  • Dan Jenkins – He is only the third writer to be inducted and the first still living.  From Fort Worth, TX, Jenkins is a revered and celebrated writer winning recognition for his golf coverage and his books.  A best-selling author, Jenkins has written arguably the “best ever golf book” – “The Dogged Victims of Inexorable Fate.” 
  • Peter Alliss – A professional player in his early career, Alliss was inducted as a broadcaster.  The distinctive British announcer was inducted as a result of his lifetime achievement for excellence in broadcasting.
  • Phil Mickelson – He has 48 world-wide victories, with three Masters and one PGA included. 

Hollis Stacy is still active in promoting women’s and girls’ golf.  A product of a large family of ten children (fourth) she attributed her competitiveness and spirited nature and ultimately her success to her family.  She did not really talk about her car wreck in 1988, but some attribute that event to effectively ending her career.

Through his words, Sandy Lyle provided insight into his personality that I would otherwise never had known.  Not unlike Billy Casper was overshadowed  by the big three in his time (even though his numbers should have made him the number two to three of that cohort), Sandy Lyle was overshadowed in his time by names such as Seve Ballesteros, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, and Ian Woosnam. 

I loved listening to Dan Jenkins.  I knew of him for years and hadn’t read much of his stuff.  I recently bought the book referred to previously and it is not cheap!  It is out of print (or whatever the right term is) and so there are only so many out there.  I found one with Dave Marr and Al Geiberger autographs in it (lucky find) and am halfway into it.  I have already found quips and quotes that have made me laugh out loud. 

Peter Alliss is quite a character.  A little self-deprecating, but knowing of his status, he played the crowd beautifully.  He did acknowledge that he was “quite beautiful” when he was young.  He finished his speech with a bow to his parents above in Heaven and “the finger” to a grade school teacher (if she were watching from wherever) who wrote in his report that though he has a brain, he was loathe to use it and she was afraid for his future.   

PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem provided some commentary prior to Phil Mickelson’s introduction.  In his words he essentially called Phil a great role-model and ambassador for the PGA Tour.  He lauded Phil’s conduct and comportment on and off the course and implied all should take his example.  I second that assertion.

Phil mentioned briefly in his commentary and more directly in pre-event interviews that perhaps 40 was too young an age threshold for consideration.  Like Ernie Els last year, he said he still has a lot to do and a lot of game left.  In fact, he said that he may be entering the best part of his career.  When asked in an interview pre-Players recently, Tiger agreed with Phil’s questioning the age threshold, but came to no specific conclusion with what the right age should be.

Phil made another interesting comment in a pre-induction interview at the World Golf Hall of Fame.  He was asked about the state of the game and its future.  He took a different view than many.  Essentially, instead of creating strategies to “hurry along” the game (referring to tee it forward, fewer holes, etc…), let’s find a way to make the golf course a place people want to be.  Make it more “family friendly.”  He said part of what he loves about golf is not only playing the game, but “the hang” at the club with friends and family after a round.  I think there are some valuable nuggets there…

The Eternal Summer Review

Summer of 1960 – The Eternal Summer

Curt Sampson wrote The Eternal Summer which was published in 1992, almost 20 years ago.  I happened to find a signed copy of the book and read it over the course of the last couple of weeks.  It is required reading for those who profess to follow and know golf.  1960 was a year to remember.  It was literally a turning point for American society shifting out of the post World War II Eisenhower era and the societal innocence of the 1950s into a more hip and rebellious period.  It was also the year I was born – an important year indeed…

The Eternal Summer and the Changing of the Guard

Television was a catalyst for this change – it changed how we viewed candidates for president of the United States and how we viewed golf and its heroes.  It was the year Arnold Palmer was born as a golfing superstar, the birth of Arnie’s Army and a seed for sports management that sparked the path for players to treat the PGA Tour as a major business venture.  It was also the year that the U.S. Open at Cherry Hills marked the changing of the old guard in golf through Ben Hogan’s last stand, Arnold Palmer’s triumph, and a glimpse of the promise of the champion to come, Jack Nicklaus.

In The Eternal Summer, Curt Sampson takes us through the year by way of the brief histories of the three gentlemen mentioned above and the year’s major tournaments.  He fills in the blanks with personalities of golf, personalities around golf, the birth of the modern PGA Tour, and the shift of golf as an exclusively rich past-time to a game of the masses.

Irrepressible Dan Jenkins provides the forward where he calls 1960 one of four significant years of the game.  Arguably, there are now five as we have since realized the “Tiger Era,” but of course, that is accounted for I am sure in countless books that I have yet to read.  Come to think of it, we may have six as I believe we are in the “post-Tiger Era” now defined by his instant downfall a couple of years ago.  More of that in my analysis of the implications of Tiger’s fall in a later post.

The Eternal Summer – A Must Read

As I said, it is a must read about what Curt Sampson calls “golf’s golden year.”  The Eternal Summmer is entertaining, informative, and quick.  It will stay on my shelf as a reference for this important historical point for the game we love.  It is a great place to start, a nexus if you will for exploration of the history of the game.  Buy and read The Eternal Summer, you won’t be disappointed.