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Michigan PGA Inducts First Class into Hall of Fame
Former Michigan PGA presidents, players and various golf experts were recently inducted into the new Michigan PGA Hall of Fame. The inductees included Gene Bone, Jim Dewling, Randy Erskine, Lynn Janson, Warren Orlick, John Traub, Mark Wilson, Al Watrous, Horton Smith, Chick Harbert, Walter Hagen and Walter Burkemo.
The group was honored October 30th at the Country Club of Lansing. "It is with a great deal of pride that the Michigan PGA welcomes these individuals to the Hall of Fame, who by their life's work have made significant and lasting contributions to the Michigan PGA and the game of golf," said Michigan Section president John Lindert.
Bone was victorious in every event sponsored by the Michigan PGA, including the State Pro-Pro, Pro-Am, and Pro-Assistant. He won two titles in each of the Michigan Open and Michigan PGA, and was named Player of the Year in 1966 and the Golf Professional of the Year in 1976, the first to ever receive both honors in Michigan.
Dewling has spent most of his life in golf, from sweeping floors to twice being elected president of the PGA's Michigan Section. After several years as an assistant pro, Dewling moved into club management. He has owned and/or managed more than 40 properties and co-designed three golf courses.
Erskine, raised in Battle Creek, came to prominence at the University of Michigan by winning the Big Ten Championship in 1970. He then proceeded to win every major amateur golf tournament in the state, including the Amateur, Michigan Medal Play, and the GAM Championship. After turning professional in 1973, Erskine continued his victorious ways in the Michigan PGA and Michigan Open (five times), and won the Michigan PGA Match Play twice. No one else has won all of these major amateur and professional competitions in the state.
Janson, the Hastings Country Club professional, also won just about everything in Michigan golf. After turning pro, Janson won the Assistant Pro Championship in 1974, four Section championships, three Match Play titles, two Michigan Opens and six team championships. He was Player of the Year five times, played in seven National PGA Championships, seven U.S. Opens and five Buick Opens. Janson also qualified for 12 PGA Club Professional Championships.
Orlick, a Past President of the PGA of America and a member for over 50 years, was internationally respected as an authority of the Rules of Golf. Known affectionately as "Mr. Rules," Orlick served on the tournament committees of every American major championship over three decades, including the Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open, and the Ryder Cup.
Traub made an impressive start in golf, becoming a PGA member in 1977. In 1980 he rallied from seventh place to fire a final-round 3-under-par 69 and win the National Club Professional Championship. He also won the Michigan PGA Championship in 1984 and, as a senior, twice won the Michigan PGA Match Play Championship. Traub also won the Michigan PGA Senior, two Pro-Pros, two Senior-Juniors and two Pro-Assistant titles.
Wilson just celebrated his 30th year as head professional at Watermark Country Club in Grand Rapids. He has made a reputation as a Rules of Golf official in Michigan, second only Orlick. As chairman of the PGA of America Rules Committee, Wilson has been a rules official at every PGA Championship since 1990, a referee at the past seven Ryder Cups, officiated 16 Masters, seven British Opens, five U.S. Opens and a Players Championship. He was the chief referee at the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla Country Club in Kentucky.
Watrous, the most titled golfer in Michigan history, won six Michigan Opens, nine Michigan PGA Championships, five Michigan PGA Seniors and three Michigan Pro-Ams. He won the 1922 Canadian Open, played on the 1927 and 1929 U.S. Ryder Cup teams, won the National PGA Senior Championship in 1950, '51 and '57, and won the PGA Quarter Century and the World Senior in 1957.
Smith won the 1948 Michigan PGA and 1954 Michigan Open. He served as president of both the National PGA and PGA Seniors. He was named to seven U.S. Ryder Cup teams and twice was the leading money winner on the PGA Tour. Smith won 33 professional tournaments in his career, including the 1934 and '36 Masters along with the 1927 French Open.
Harbert, known as the longest driver in golf, was also a consistent performer, winning 10 PGA Tour events. After twice being a finalist, Chick broke through to win the PGA Championship in 1954 and was named to two U.S. Ryder Cup teams. He won five Michigan Open titles (the first as an amateur) and six Michigan PGA Championships. He was named to the PGA Hall of Fame in 1968.
Hagen, the captain of every U.S. Ryder Cup Team from 1927 to 1941, won over 50 titles. "The Haig" won two U.S. Opens, four British Opens, five PGA Championships, five Western Opens, the French Open, Canadian Open and Belgian Open. He was the first professional at Oakland Hills Country Club and won the 1921 Michigan Open and Michigan PGA in 1930 and '31. Considered one of the greatest golfers of all time, Hagen was an original inductee in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Burkemo was considered one of the finest match-play golfers in history. He was a three-time finalist in the PGA Championship, winning the title in 1953 and was named to the U.S. Ryder Cup team that year. Burekmo captured the Michigan PGA in 1955 and won the Michigan Open four times.
The above report is courtesy of the Michigan PGA. For more information, visit http://michigan.pga.com.