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Els, Ford, Hutchison & President Bush Part of World Golf Hall of Fame Class of 2011
The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum's newest inductees include Ernie Els, Doug Ford, the late Jock Hutchison and former President George H.W. Bush. A fifth and final inductee will be announced in October. The five will be enshrined on Monday, May 9, 2011 at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla.
Els was elected with 66% of the vote on the PGA Tour ballot (complete results listed below), while Ford and Hutchison were selected in the Veterans Category and President Bush in the Lifetime Achievement Category.
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, who was on hand for Wednesday's announcement at East Lake Golf Club, where the Tour Championship begins tomorrow, said: "Each of the inductees richly deserves of this honor and on behalf of the World Golf Foundation Board, I look forward to welcoming them into the Hall of Fame next May.
"Ernie has compiled an extraordinarily successful international career and continues to compete at the highest level. It's terrific that Doug Ford and Jock Hutchison's careers will be highlighted in this way as both enjoyed great success in their professional careers. And, President Bush has been and continues to be a great friend to the game of golf; he's a terrific addition to the Hall."
"We couldn't be more pleased with the Class of 2011," said Jack Peter, chief operating officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum. "Our mission is global in scope and this year's class certainly reflects the global character of the game and those who have competed and contributed to it for so many years. The 2011 Induction Ceremony will be a grand celebration of golf around the world and we look forward to welcoming this class into the Hall of Fame & Museum and sharing their stories with golf fans for years to come."
Els, who is competing in this week's PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedEx Cup finale, won the 1994 and '97 U.S. Open Championships and the 2002 Open Championship. He has 15 additional PGA Tour victories, including two World Golf Championships events, and more than 40 international victories, many of which he won in his native South Africa and others in Europe and Australia. He is currently ranked eighth in the FedEx Cup and holds the fourth position in the European Tour's Race to Dubai. He is a six-time member of the International Team for the Presidents Cup.
"I was shocked and extremely honored when the call came through from Commissioner Finchem to say that I was to be inducted into the Hall of Fame," Els said. "I would like to thank all those who have helped make this possible, not least my family whose support has never wavered. There are too many others to mention by name, but they know who they are and can be assured of my eternal gratitude. Also to those who saw fit to believe I was worthy of a place among those who have been previously honored, I say a big thank you."
"I was so pleased to hear the news today that my fellow South African Ernie Els has been selected to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame," said Hall of Fame Global Ambassador Gary Player from his ranch in Colesberg, South Africa. "Ernie certainly deserves this recognition, as he epitomizes a "world" golfer. He is a credit to the game and an ambassador for the sport. Ernie has been a wonderful friend over the years and I am very fond of him and his family. Alles van die beste ou maat…"
Born in West Haven, Conn., Ford captured 19 PGA Tour victories including the 1955 PGA Championship and the 1957 Masters. He was named PGA Player of the Year in 1955, which also marked the first of his four Ryder Cup appearances.
"It is an honor and a privilege to be named to the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum," said Ford. "It took a little while, but I think it's great they're doing this while I'm still alive. It is an honor of which I am deeply proud."
A native of St. Andrews, Scotland, the late Hutchison won 14 PGA Tour events including the 1920 PGA Championship, 1921 Open Championship and the 1920 and 1923 Western Opens. He won the inaugural Senior PGA Championship in 1937, and again in 1947. Hutchison was the first honorary starter at The Masters (along with Fred McLeod) from 1963 to 1973.
President Bush helped raise the profile of the sport of golf considerably during and post his Presidential administration. He has been recognized by the golf community over the years, including receiving the 1997 PGA of America Distinguished Service Award, the USGA's 2008 Bob Jones Award and the 2009 PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1996, President Bush served as honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup and has since attended every Presidents Cup. He is an honorary member of the PGA, honorary chair of the USGA Museum and Archives President's council and has served as honorary chairman of the First Tee since 1997.
"I am deeply honored to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame," President Bush said. "I would like to thank PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors for everything they do to support the traditions of golf. I wish everyone gathered here today all the best."
For information about the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum, or the 2011 Induction Ceremony, visit www.WorldGolfHallofFame.org.
Class of 2011 PGA Tour Ballot Results
Candidate Voting Results (percentage) Ernie Els 66
Doug Ford 50
Fred Couples 32
Mark O'Meara 29
Davis Love III 27
Macdonald Smith 23
Ken Venturi 20
Fuzzy Zoeller 18
Tony Lema 14
Dave Stockton 12
Don January 10
Miller Barber 9
Harold (Jug) McSpaden 7
Kenny Perry 2
Jay Haas 2