Woods to headline initiation class at World Golf Hall of Fame | Taiwan News

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Nominees are introduced one by one, along with a list of their accomplishments to justify membership in the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Except for Tiger Woods.

There was nothing to say that hadn’t been seen or at least mentioned. There was no debate. His election was unanimous.

Jon Rahm was not part of the committee that selected the class of 2022 which was to be inducted on Wednesday evening. His reaction to the inevitable spoke for all golfers who saw Woods win at a historic rate and leave an imprint on the game measured in money and prestige for him and all who followed.

“What can I say about Tiger that we haven’t already said?” Rahm said. “He inspired a whole generation. Besides entertaining us all for 20 years and doing amazing things, he inspired the generation of gamers you see today.

Woods was the headliner on Wednesday in an induction class that fittingly included Tim Finchem, the retired PGA Tour commissioner who has harnessed Woods’ powerful effect with astronomical prize money increases and a tour that has become the destination for gamers around the world.

Three-time US Women’s Open champion Susie Maxwell Berning and the late Marion Hollins, the first woman to develop golf courses and former US Women’s Amateur champion and Curtis Cup captain, were also inducted.

The ceremony was moved from the World Golf Village, which held previous ceremonies in Florida, to the new PGA Tour headquarters located about a mile from where Woods first rose to fame.

Of course, there was the appearance on the Mike Douglas Show as a 2-year-old prodigy, and the three consecutive U.S. Junior Amateur titles. It was on the Island Green on the par-3 17th hole of TPC Sawgrass during the 1994 US Amateur when Woods first delivered the uppercut that would define his celebration.

It was the first of an unprecedented streak of three consecutive US Amateur titles, and it only got better.

Much better.

His record is so strong that Woods has had three Hall of Fame careers in one. After four full years as a professional, he already had a career Grand Slam and 24 PGA Tour wins. The first major was the 1997 Masters, which he won by 12, one of 20 records.

At 30, he already had 46 tour wins and 10 majors, including a major sweep, a feat no one had ever accomplished.

Woods now has a record 82 PGA Tour wins, as well as 15 majors, three behind the gold standard set by Jack Nicklaus.

More than his victories, it was his influence.

Woods never wanted to be seen as a golfer but rather as an athlete. He wasn’t the first to find the gym, but his dedication to strength and fitness created a role model for others to follow.

“Tiger changed people’s perception of golf from a game to a sport,” said Padraig Harrington.

If players were too young to remember the Masters’ first victory, they remember the iconic turnout when he won Augusta National in 2005, or when he won his third US Open title in Torrey Pines despite suffering a double stress fracture in his left leg and a knee with torn ligaments that required reconstructive surgery a week later.

“He created what golf is today”, Xander Schauffele.

The Players Championship prize fund this week is $20 million, and that’s not lost on the players on the pitch. The entire purse was $3.5 million in 1997 when Woods debuted. This week’s winner receives $3.6 million.

Woods’ popularity, his showmanship, was so great that Finchem was able to turn that into TV deals that drove up the stock market.

“His impact on the game is probably the most profound of all, especially the professional game,” said Patrick Cantlay, who took home $15 million last year winning the FedEx Cup. “I wouldn’t say I know enough about (Arnold) Palmer or Bobby Jones or Nicklaus to say how they impacted that at the time. But I think every pro here owes a debt of gratitude to Tiger because this sport wouldn’t be where it is today without his impact.

Finchem also created the World Golf Championships events and a Presidents Cup to give the burgeoning group of international players outside of Europe a chance to compete in team matches. And he kept the PGA Tour strong with sponsors during the 2008 recession, which coincided with Woods’ recovery from knee surgery.

Maxwell Berning won just 11 times on the LPGA Tour, but she played in a time when juggling family and golf led to short careers.

She has won the US Women’s Open three times – only five others have won at least three – in six years. She also won the Women’s Western Open, a major event in her day.

Hollins funded and developed a women’s golf course in New York City and was the mastermind behind two legendary golf courses in California – Cypress Point and Pasatiempo. Hollins, who died in 1944 at the age of 51, was a visionary of golf course architecture, a confidante of Alister Mackenzie and a United States amateur champion.


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