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Emotional Couples Concludes 2013 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
An uncharacteristically teary-eyed Fred Couples belied his role as the king of cool during his acceptance speech as the final inductee in Monday night's World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The Seattle native choked up a couple of times in bringing the star-studded event to an emotional close.
The event, broadcast on the Golf Channel, also included the introduction of Colin Montgomerie, Ken Venturi, Willy Park Jr. and Ken Schofield into the Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Augustine, Fla.
CBS Sports' Jim Nantz was a presenter (twice), as were Venturi's sons, Tim and Matt Venturi, historian John Hopkins (for Park), the European Tour's George O'Grady (Montgomerie), and PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.
Here's a full transcript of the proceedings, mc-ed by NBC Sports' Dan Hicks.
DAN HICKS: Thank you, everybody, and it is indeed hard to believe that another year has actually passed since we last gathered to honor the class of 2012, and another great class awaits its turn here tonight. I'd like to welcome all of you who are here at the Hall of Fame in person and those of you watching at home around the country to St. Augustine, America's oldest city and home to great history in its own right, as tonight we celebrate the five exceptional individuals who have all contributed to the game in very different ways.
The 2013 season in golf is already off to a memorable start. We've seen current and future Hall of Famers claim victories already this season. We've seen 43 different winners through the first 50 tournaments played on the men's and women's Tours in Europe and the United States. We've seen two teenagers from the other side of the world absolutely amaze us with their talent as well as their composure.
We've seen the first Australian to wear that coveted green jacket, all the while reflecting and celebrating this year the 100th anniversary of Francis Ouimet's stunning and historic U.S. Open victory. History made and history in the making, and it all lives on here at the World Golf Hall of Fame.
And just down the road from the hall is the famed Players Stadium Course where later this week the greatest players in the world will tee it up at the 40th edition of the Players Championship, a championship more highly anticipated every single year.
As we start tonight's ceremony, consider these questions: Can you imagine a different ending to the 1964 U.S. Open? Ponder a European Tour season with less than 20 events. Measure the present day impact of a champion golfer, writer and course designer who was so far ahead of his time more than a century ago. How different would the legacy of the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup be without two of its central figures who are here this evening?
Without tonight's honorees, the game would certainly be played, watched and remembered very, very differently, each of them contributing their own unique impact on the game.
Tonight we pay tribute to the Class of 2013, five men whose commitment, passion and talent have earned them golf's highest honor. And as we begin the evening's festivities, I would like to introduce one of the most popular and most beloved players in the history of the sport of golf, ladies and gentlemen, a 48 time winner on the LPGA Tour, inducted back in 1987, Nancy Lopez.
NANCY LOPEZ: Thank you, Dan. Ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor to be here tonight to welcome this year's class. Induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame is truly golf's highest honor. Ken, Freddie, Monty, Mr. Schofield and the family of Willie Park, Jr., on behalf of the members I'd like to say congratulations and welcome to the Hall of Fame. You are all deserving of golf's highest honor, and we are proud to have you with us. Thank you.
DAN HICKS: After the 1974 golf season in Europe, Peter Oosterhuis was awarded the Order of Merit, earning just more than 32,000 pounds and winning three of the Tour's 18 events. The following year our next inductee took the reins of the European Tour succeeding Hall of Famer John Jacobs as the man who would expand the circuit beyond the bounds of continental Europe to four continents. Presenting Ken Schofield for induction is the man who guided the United States Golf Association for more than two decades and was instrumental in bringing golf back to the Olympics. Please welcome Mr. David B. Fay. (Video shown.)
KEN SCHOFIELD: Thank you for your very kind words. We've been dear friends for a long period of time, and you are one of many and indeed many in this Hall who have helped myself and my team in myself with George O'Grady to grow the European Tour and help our international players. Ladies and gentlemen, I want to say this is a proud and very humbling evening. To be nominated through the lifetime achievement category into the Hall is the proudest moment of my professional career, and I certainly wish to express my appreciation for the international voting body and to the World Golf Foundation's board.
A year ago, a number of you may have been present for the class of 2012, Phil and Hollis's class amongst others. Now, I understand a venerable 82 year old Englishman was inducted a year ago, and I have to say to you that a large part of the reason I stand before you this evening was that same Peter Alliss because some 54 years earlier on a wet, cold and windy day in October 1958, my late father and favorite uncle took me to Gleneagles Hotel, where the first professional golfer I saw striding the fairways was 28 year old adonis Peter Alliss.
Ladies and gentlemen, I can assure you, Peter was a magnificent player and a magnificent athlete in those days. I was very fortunate to grow up some three miles from Gleneagles Hotel, which we know will be the site of next year's Ryder Cup matches. Two years later I went back to see a Dunlop tournament at Gleneagles, and in 1962 I was a volunteer extra in a Shell Wonderful World of Golf match featuring the 1961 United States Open champion Gene Littler and Scotland's own Eric Brown.
I was hooked. What I wasn't to think of or know at that time is that a moment would come when I could sit in this hall, and have done, with Gene Littler, and I had the privilege of becoming Eric Brown's executive director of the European Tour. As I say, I was hooked. I had wanted to be a footballer or a cricketer, that's our baseball, and I found out earlier I was not going to make it, so I embarked on trying to qualify to go into banking. You may twitter, but I did. But subconsciously during those times of qualification I had become a fanatical follower of tournament golf, collecting all my own statistics and newspaper cuttings, and of course in those days black and white television was bringing the great tournaments and the great players into the Schofield home.
All this led to a day in August 1971 when I had noted that John Jacobs, my mentor and my friend, had been asked by the tournament players to start the modern European Tour, and I obviously knew of John, and we were on holiday near Gleneagles, and I saw an advertisement to join as a deputy press and PR chief and join John's revolution.
I asked my wife Evelyn to type my letter of application, which she did, and she said, you will get that job, unwaveringly she said it, and she was right. I got that job. Evelyn, you supported me then, you've supported me ever since, not only my thanks but happy birthday. (Applause.).
With your permission I'd just also like to acknowledge daughters Susie and Evonne for being here and representing back in England our extended family with Steve, Nick, Harrison, Helena and Colin. You've been great supporters. Thank you so much. Now, I think particularly with David's wonderful video we can almost skip the next 33 years of my life because I think what I should say quite quickly is that it afforded me a wonderful privilege, together with many challenges. The privilege was to work with many people, a number of who are here in the hall this evening. Many are back in Europe and many are elsewhere in the United States and around the world, be they fellow officials from the Professional Golfers Association or the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, all of our European Golf Association federations and those farther afield across the whole breadth of the world of golf together with our sponsors, written and radio media, our promoters, the players' managers, and all who helped make today's European Tour what it is.
My induction is a tribute to all of those people. I've always seen it that way. We had wonderful help, and I thank all of them, and if you'd permit me perhaps to allow me to name three of them who were and remain at the forefront of all of those who helped me and helped make the European Tour what it is today, I've mentioned John Jacobs. He is the founding father of the modern European Tour. He is 88 years young. His mind is good and strong, his body less so.
Neil Coles has been the Tour's chairman for 30 years, was a wonderful player and is also rightly in the Hall. And George O'Grady, my colleague, my partner really and now my successor, all three of them professionally and personally have been with myself and all of the others to help make this evening possible and make today's European Tour what it is, and I wish to pay tribute and express my appreciation to these three gentlemen on behalf of many others. Thank you, John; thank you, Neil; thank you, George.
Those were the privileges. The challenge was very similar. The challenge was a simple one, and David has alluded to it. It was to try to put together the best possible schedule so that our players could emerge and play on an international stage in major championships and in Ryder Cups. And tonight is such a special night because starting with Willie Park, Jr., who I'll come on to maybe a little later, and Ken Venturi who sadly is not well enough to be with us, and Fred Couples and Colin Montgomerie, who both are, and who've I've had the privilege of seeing both of their magnificent careers. Colin if I could say to you simply I know that George has articulated your wonderful career, it's in the record book. If I can say a couple of things really, my privilege was to see you first hand dominate the European scene and be the bulwark of many of our Ryder Cup teams, including being captain.
And David, I didn't know that you were going to tee up or had teed up Sir Alex, but if I could indulge our American audience to say that back home our biggest sport is football, I know you have a different kind of football and you want me to call it soccer. Manchester United are the greatest team in European soccer, and what I would want to say to Colin, in a golfing sense, in a European golfing sense, Colin, you were Manchester United. Congratulations. You're so completely deserving of taking your place in this Hall, together with Europe's other modern Hall of Famers, and I thank you for being the heartbeat of European golf for so many, many years.
Now, moving on, ladies and gentlemen, I feel I had a parallel love affair with American golf and golf in America for all of those years, and I hope very briefly to explain why. When those early black and white grainy television pictures started to come in from Augusta onto our screens back home, they depicted Arnold, they depicted Gary, and very quickly thereafter Jack. They made tremendous impressions on my household. As I said earlier, I'm so sorry that Ken Venturi is not here this evening, but I'm delighted his two sons and grandson are, and they rightly will be proud of a great man, because although perhaps BBC television did not show Ken's emotional victory at Congressional, I certainly heard of it and read of it, and I did see him on our screens the next year when he was part of a very strong United States Ryder Cup team, and I saw him again playing the Old Course in the Piccadilly Match Play at Wentworth in 1966.
To Ken, all of us wish you a full recovery, and I know that Jack Peter wants you here next year with this microphone. Your commentary for so many years was and remains the benchmark for golf analytical commentary. I think we should all wish Ken and his family the best.
In 1980, I felt it was important to see how the might of the PGA Tour was operated from here in Ponte Vedra, and Evelyn and I came on that occasion and have been coming back ever since. Deane and Judy Beman embraced us and welcomed us, and Tim and Holly have continued that. That's the way it is with golf in America. It's inclusive, and visitors are welcomed with open arms.
I think tonight of Willie Park's induction, and I think of how 100 years ago or so he made the journey here just as I've done tonight and Colin, and he came, and with his pioneering, British, mainly Scottish and some English early professionals, helped grow the game and start the game here in the United States, and I then think of Arnold and Jack, how we were lucky in reverse the 1960 Arnold decided he would come and play in the centenary Open Golf Championship and pretty much come back ever since, winning it the next two years, bringing Jack, and from that moment on, all the great American players have rejuvenated this third leg of the 150 years of The Open Golf Championship.
And then you think of Jack Nicklaus being the lead voice in saying the Ryder Cup needs to become more competitive. There's a fledgling European Tour getting going. There's a young Seve who nearly won Johnny Miller's Open. Let's have them all play. When you think of the two great names of Arnold and Jack wanting to ensure the Open Championship and the Ryder Cup would continue, that tells me that everyone in this Hall pulls for all of golf, and therefore I think it's very fitting that Willie Park, Jr., has been inducted this evening. He would approve of what Arnold did, and he would approve of what Jack did.
In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, eight years ago, I had a rare privilege. In leaving a talented team at Wentworth on the European Tour in George's hands, I had an opportunity to join an equally talented team at Golf Channel. I had the privilege of being there in Orlando on the night that Joe Gibbs launched the channel. What it did was to promote the European Tour and the other international Tours here in the United States, something that has been so important for growing the professional tours in those countries.
To all of the people at Golf Channel, my colleagues and my friends, both behind and in front of the screens, my appreciation to you for welcoming me, embracing me to the team. I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to share some of my observations with American golf followers on Golf Channel.
Jack, to you and the board, my thanks, to everyone in this Hall, and thank you again for this privilege and rare honor. I would like, I think, to invoke some of the words of the late, great Hall of Famer Henry Cotton, who said, "golf, the game of a lifetime." And I would add to that, golf, the greatest game. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for your support and allowing me to be with you tonight.
DAN HICKS: Paying tribute to Willie Park, Jr., tonight is the PGA of America's 201e Lifetime Achievement in Journalism recipient, a 30 year veteran golf correspondent of the Times of London and senior writer for Global Golf Post, please welcome John Hopkins.
JOHN HOPKINS: Good evening. Willie Park, Jr., was a member of one of the great families in golf. Think families, and you think of Davis Love, father and son; the Harmons, Claude and his precocious progeny. You think of the Allisses, Percy and Peter. Perhaps you think of Old and Young Tom Morris and Willie Park Sr. and Jr., the Montagues and the Capulets of their time, at least as far as their rivalries were concerned.
The Morrises won more Opens than the Parks, eight to six, but in challenge matches between the two families, it was the Parks who gained the upper hand. Willie Park, Sr. must have been quite a character. He was known for his eccentricity, for playing one match using only one hand and standing on one leg. He and Mungo, his brother, were playing against the Morrises at North Berwick, when young Tom received news that his wife was about to die, and we all know what happened after that.
Willie Park, Jr., was born in Musselburgh in 1864, just past the apogee of the Victorian era when many parts of the world seemed to be colored red for Britain. He learned the game from his father, as Davis Love III had learned from his, the Harmons from theirs, Peter from Percy, and Young Tom from Old Tom.
Jr. played in his first Open when he was 16, which wasn't quite so precocious then as it might be now. Young Tom, for example, was 14 when he competed in the 1865 Open. Jr. won the Opens of 1887 and 1889. He would mustard around the greens, practicing his putting with marbles on the brick floor of his father's workshop. No wonder he and his father were so good at challenge matches. Sr. would belt it out there and Jr. would hole the putts. What a pair, what a partnership.
Jr. helped in his father's ball and club making business, patenting several designs and enabling the company to cash in on the growth of the game internationally. In 1897 he opened a branch of William Park & Sons in New York.
Now, there's a widely held view that if you can't play, you teach. And if you can't teach, you write. As a writer, I wonder about that. What if you can't write, either? Now, that didn't bother Jr. because obviously he could play, and soon he proved that he could write, too. His outstanding work, "The Game of Golf," was the first book written by a professional golfer about golf. It was published in 1896 and is still in print. Now, that's some going. I wonder if J. K. Rowling's books will still be on sale in 120 years.
Jr.'s second book, "The Art of Putting," was published in 1920, and it was in this one he wrote the words that have become so associated with him: Namely, a man who can putt is a match for anyone.
To have succeeded in two areas would have been enough for most people, but Jr. now moved into a third, turning his hand to designing golf courses, 170 in all, in Britain, mainland Europe, the U.S. and Canada. His work includes the North Course at Olympia Fields, Silloth on Solway in England, of which Bernard Darwin, and you knew I couldn't fail to bring him into this, said I never fell more violently in love with a course at first sight. And of course the wonderful Maidstone Club on Long Island.
Jr.'s best known work is the Old Course at Sunningdale, and he was paid £3,800 for doing it. This is probably a little less than $6,000, petty cash, and the sort of sum that some Sunningdale members were playing for when I was there on a golden day last Wednesday afternoon.
Speaking of Jr., Henry Leach wrote in the "American Golfer" that, and I quote, "he more than any, provided the bridge between the players of the money match days and the new men of business who were driving the game forward in America and Britain." Jr. was described, and again I quote, "as the only solid link remaining between golf of today and the really great golf of the past."
Willie Park was "one of the boys of the old brigade." In this respect, Henry Leach concluded, there was none like him. So that was Willie Park, Jr., who was born in 1864 and died in a mental hospital in Scotland in 1925, and he sends his apologies for not being here. Thank you.
DAN HICKS: Our next inductee started his career as an outstanding California state amateur championship back in 1951. And after serving in the Korean war, capturing it again in 1956. He grew up mentored by the likes of Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan, and the company he kept off the course included a roommate nicknamed Ol' Blue Eyes. His lifetime of achievement in the game included his win at the 1964 U.S. Open at Congressional and 35 years in the broadcast booth. Let's take a look at the iconic career of Ken Venturi. (Video shown.)
Ken Venturi, clearly a man that let emotion take him to all those heights. It's a real gift in this world of broadcast sports. For 35 years golf fans welcomed Ken Venturi and his broadcast partners in the CBS booths into their homes. Tonight a man who was the last to share that booth with Ken is here to honor him. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Jim Nantz.
JIM NANTZ: Wow, I just looked at that piece and felt like I was watching it from afar even though I wrote it and narrated it. To see the visuals again is pretty powerful. I love Ken Venturi as a friend and a mentor, and I'm heart broken he's not standing here right now. I have nothing prepared to say. I was just going to wait until I got to this moment and just point out a few things. And I see Commissioner Finchem right here in front of me for starters. Thank you for being so good to Ken, commissioner, and trusting him with the captaincy of the Presidents Cup in 2000 in the late stages of his career. It meant the world to him. It was a big deal. It was tremendous the way you recognized him and championed this very occasion for Kenny to be in this Hall of Fame along with many others. Thank you, Tim, so much.
I think most people know, Kenny has been ill for some time now. He's been in the hospital out in Palm Springs for two months. However, I'm going to tell you, the prognosis is still good. He can get through this. I really believe it in my heart. The countdown has been going on since early March. Can he get through the next couple of weeks? May 6th always the target date. There have been some steps forward followed by a couple of steps back, all the while hoping he could be on this stage tonight.
Jack Peter and the World Golf Hall of Fame, thank you for this tremendous treasure for our sport. I know if Kenny was here tonight he would want to say to everyone involved in the game, honor the sport, take care of the things that are important in this game that has the greatest soul of any sport that's ever been created. Let's treasure this World Golf Hall of Fame. Let's recognize its importance. Let's honor it. Ken would want people to always remember, no one individual is bigger than the game.
But I know that being recognized in golf immortality, if you will, the World Hall of Fame, is something he could only dream of for a long, long time. So as he sits tonight out in Palm Springs, California, in intensive care tonight but tracking to get out of there soon, and Jack and the World Golf Hall of Fame saying, Kenny, when you come out of this, next year you get to come here and make your acceptance speech.
Here's how I look at it: He stood there between rounds on that 36 hole finale at Congressional suffering from heat stroke. The doctors advised him to give up. He went out dazed and played, couldn't even add up his own scorecard before Joe Dye said the numbers add up, Kenny, just sign it and you're the U.S. Open winner. He made it through that.
As a young boy, he had a stammering condition that was so severe, doctors told his mother he will never speak. He will never be able to say his own name. That's what drove him to golf, to sit on a range, beating balls, hearing himself in total clarity in his head, this is to win the U.S. Open. And he overcame that with great will and determination, and again, became the longest running lead analyst in the history of sports television.
I believe that that young boy, Ken Venturi, and that champion golfer Ken Venturi is going to be on this stage next year, and I can't wait to be here to see it. So tonight (Applause) in the meantime, we need to put the crystal in the hands of the Venturi family. We need the fingerprints on the crystal, and it's my pleasure to bring to the stage to accept Kenny's induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame his two boys that he loves more than anything in the world, and I know tonight he's going to be back home watching with Kathleen, his Angel, please welcome Matt and Tim Venturi.
MATT VENTURI: Thank you for coming tonight and thank you for this opportunity. Jimmy, I think my dad couldn't have asked for anyone more special to present this to him tonight. Not only are you a dear friend who he loves and someone who he cherished working alongside for as many years, but also as part of the CBS family who was all so special to him.
We're honored to be here to accept this award on his behalf. This is such an important milestone, and we're sorry he can't be here. But we want to thank everyone who supported and were part of his being a recipient of this incredible honor. We also want to say thanks to the World Golf Hall of Fame, the good folks who have offered the opportunity for him to come back next year and be at this podium with Jimmy to do this. I know he looks forward to it, and will really bask in the limelight.
Finally, we want to congratulate all the inductees. It's such a special night to be here with you all, and we want to congratulate the families of the inductees because we know how proud you are of them and to be part of this. Thank you so much.
TIM VENTURI: Thank you again, Jimmy. Dad loves you. He's loved you I'll tell you, he loves Jimmy. When dad did receive the induction into the Hall of Fame, he had a twinkle in his eye, and that twinkle is there every day. Every day when I see him, that same twinkle. I'm just so proud of him. If he was here to speak tonight on our behalf, we'll speak for him, but I know that he would end tonight by saying God bless all of you, and God bless America, and thank you.
DAN HICKS: In mathematics, the No. 8 is symbolic of perfection and infinity. In golf it can mean a number of things, a number to definitely keep off the scorecard for starters, or in this case tonight, equal to the number of consecutive appearances on Europe's Ryder Cup team and Orders of Merit won by this evening's next inductee. Glasgow born Colin Montgomerie is hailed as the European Tour's premier player of the 1990s and this evening becomes a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Presenting Colin tonight is the chief executive of the European Tour, Mr. George O'Grady. (Video shown.)
GEORGE O'GRADY: Colin, we from the European Tour and the Tours around the world, specifically my predecessor Ken Schofield, we had great, great growth in the Tour in the 1990s and 2000 and onwards. To father James and Gaynor, your lovely wife, Ken, I and everybody on the European Tour, we couldn't have done it without Colin Montgomerie.
COLIN MONTGOMERIE: Thank you very much, George, for those very kind words. It goes back a long way, and I appreciate them. This is the highest honor within the game, and I thank the committee for selecting me along with fellow inductees in 2013, Freddie Couples, Willie Park, Jr., Ken Schofield, and Ken Venturi, who we all wish a speedy recovery.
Thank you all for coming here this evening to celebrate what I think is the greatest game of them all, and I'm sure you all agree, a game that I started playing at the grand old age of five in Troon, Scotland. Mind you, in Troon, Scotland, that's about all you do. I must thank my father James here this evening for introducing me to golf, in fact my older brother and my late mom all played at one stage to single figure handicaps, and I'm often asked if I could play in any four ball who would you choose, and my answer has always been to reenact the great family games between dad, mom, my brother and myself.
In fact, I'd like to tell you a story of how my career began. I had an interview with IMG to become a sports agent at Turnberry prior to the 1986 British Open championship. The interview was to comprise of playing nine holes with two executives, Peter German and Ian Todd, and it was on the back nine that obviously something better to do than the front nine, and I drove out to the light house at Turnberry, a few of you might have been there, to play nine holes in a job interview.
Now, a lot of you, as I, were really watching your P's and Q's in job interviews and not really concentrating on what was going on, and neither was I. And just played in, was talking to them about the position that I was going to hopefully accept in the London office of IMG under the auspices of Mark McCormack at the time.
And I didn't realize I was playing quite well. I never did, really. And I came back that day in 29 at Turnberry, and they both turned to one another, and they said to me that you are not going to work for us, but we are going to work for you. And that was the start of my professional career.
And that's how I met Guy Kinnings. He now heads up golf on a worldwide basis for the IMG sports agency and has been my manager for the last 22 years. I can't thank him enough this evening for his time, effort and emotion that he has put into the management of myself. But it hasn't always been as straightforward as you think. One of my outings arranged by Guy was to meet President Ramos of the Philippines. On the plane traveling to this outing Guy informs me that President Ramos is the most shot at president in the world. And I was there to open a hole that the president had designed on his new golf course. It had a hill in it, and he had named this hole Mound Go Merry.
The problem was I had to stand beside him for a series of photos. They weren't really very good, as I was glaring at Guy, who was safely embedded in the crowd. I must also thank tonight all my caddies, far too many to mention individually. But one man led me to all eight Order of Merit titles, and I must thank him for my most successful 10 years of my career, and that is a guy Alistair McLean. I'd also like to thank at this stage all my sponsor affiliations that I've had and continue with and the many friendships that these affiliations have granted me.
It was a very fortunate time for me to join the European Tour as a member in 1988 because the man at the helm was fellow inductee Ken Schofield. He had the vision to expand our Tour to the Middle and the Far Easts and was so successful in gaining our members, including myself, opportunity to compete in the American majors and also your TPC, and although not quite capturing one of them, it gave me great confidence to take back home to Europe.
I've always felt that travel was a great experience and education, and designing courses all over the world has enabled me to observe many different cultures. It has given me the opportunity of witnessing firsthand emerging nations starting to play golf, also giving me a thrill, leaving the range at the Montgomerie Dubai and watching so many local emirates participating in the game, and this is happening all over the world. Look at the recent Masters tournament where we had a 14 year old competing, and I say competing, not just playing, because he made the cut. And also we've just witnessed a 12 year old competing in this year's Volvo China Open.
I attended Houston Baptist University for four years and thoroughly enjoyed not only the golf but the entire experience of University life here in the States, and as I near 50 next month, in fact, I will be spending the majority of my time here in America competing on the Champions Tour. And my wife Gaynor and I are so looking forward to the next chapter in our lives traveling from Hawai'i to Chicago and back here obviously to Jacksonville.
I personally look forward to walking the fairways again with my good friends Bernhard Langer and fellow inductee Freddie Couples, although the standard of golf at the recent Masters tournaments has thrown me and leaves me with a lot of practicing to do to compete against them.
Now, I could talk all night about my experiences in the Ryder Cup. It was such an honor to represent Europe and what a sporting contest it has become. As a player I had many memorable matches, and I will never forget my debut, my first match at Kiawah Island in 1991. I was paired with Bernhard Langer, and as the senior member of the team, he comes out and says, don't worry, Monty, I'll take the first shot. I thought this was great because that means I don't have to do anything at all, I'll just watch him and perform and we'll do okay.
Unfortunately that first shot didn't go according to plan for Bernhard and he hooked it into North Carolina. We had started the round in South. And I don't believe if that ball had been wrapped in bacon, Lassie the dog would have found it.
Anyway, things were to improve for Bernhard and I over the years, and we played seven great matches together in Ryder Cup, winning six of them, and I can't wait to compete against the likes of him and Freddie coming up this year on the Champions Tour. But it's also not very often in Ryder Cup matches you get a chance to play a match against the world's No. 1 and 2, Messrs. Woods and Mickelson, and that's what happened to us in 2004 at Oakland Hills, when I was partnered with Padraig Harrington. And after me holing six putts in the first six holes, Phil Mickelson asked if I could have a look if he could have a look at my putter. I said, Phil, I don't trust you. I said, I think you're going to break it.
And he says to me, that is exactly what I was going to do with it. I would finish that story by telling the result of that particular match, but I feel there are far too many Americans in the audience to tell you.
It was one thing to play in the Ryder Cup but another altogether to captain the side. And coming down to the last game on the last day was something not for the faint hearted. These matches are so tense and so close that they have transcended golf and have become truly sporting events, and we all look forward to yet another encounter at Gleneagles Hotel near my own home in Scotland next year.
It was an unforgettable time when I was asked to take the Ryder Cup out to see our troops in Afghanistan. The first time I'm sure that the iconic trophy has been transported in a Hercules C 17 and an Apache helicopter on its way from London to Camp Bastion. To be able to leave clubs, balls, practice mats out there to allow the guys and girls of our armed forces to play golf, albeit on a sand rifle range, although not quite at the same time.
There are no words after that trip that describe my respect and admiration for our troops and yours alike and the work they do. Although I have never won (Applause.) Although I have never won a major, coming runner up five times, my major in life will be without doubt the opening of two cancer care centers in Scotland, named after my late mom, raising to date $6 million, which enables both centers to open this year, providing care for tens of thousands of patients and leaves a lasting legacy for my mom.
Ladies and gentlemen, this has been a humbling experience for me. I'm very proud to be standing here in front of you this evening, and I thank you all for coming and wish you all the best. Thank you very much indeed.
DAN HICKS: The place was the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course in Virginia, and the year was 1994, the first year of a new team event that matched the best U.S. players against the rest of the world. Our next speaker was just beginning his tenure as the commissioner of the PGA Tour. Our final inductee of the evening won all three of his matches in the maiden year of the Presidents Cup that year. This fall the tradition continues as the commissioner watches Fred Couples in action once again as the captain of the 2013 Presidents Cup. Commissioner Finchem is here tonight to say a few words with the PGA Tour inductee who will receive the final induction crystal of the evening. Please welcome PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Thank you, and good evening, everyone. This is a terrific evening. It always is. And I do want to thank Mike Whan the chairman of our board for allowing me to have a few minutes tonight to say a few words about Fred Couples. The board of the World Golf Foundation was introduced a few minutes ago and obviously all the major golf organizations are represented on the World Golf Foundation board.
You may have noticed in recent weeks that this group doesn't always agree on everything. However, their history of collaboration is fantastic, looking at the problems that face the game, the opportunities that face the game and working together, and nothing is more evident of that than coming together to build this place to recognize these great players and contributors to the game of golf, and also to create a vehicle to change the level of diversity in the game through the First Tee program, to help grow the game through Golf 20/20, and all the rest of the things we do together. Don't get sidetracked by once in a while us having a little argument about something. It's not that big a deal.
To the other recipients tonight, just a quick comment. Congratulations to the family of Willie Park. Colin, you've been one of my great players that I look up to over the years, and I can't tell you how excited we are that you're going to be traveling around the country playing so that our fans can learn about your wit and you as an individual, and I hope your dad travels with you because I met him at Troon a long time ago and he was introduced to me as Colin's father, and I looked at him, and I said, of course you are.
Ken Schofield, I worked overlapped 15 years with Ken Schofield and watched up close and personal his commitment, his hard work, his tenacity, and it was just that, to get done what he got done and to see him recognized tonight is very special, as well.
As Jim mentioned, Ken Venturi never, ever said no to the PGA Tour. Anything we ever needed from Ken Venturi he was always there. He was great to captain the Presidents Cup in 2000 and in the early years of the Presidents Cup. Just last fall, you may not be aware of this, but just last fall, last October, he participated as kind of the host, the story teller and flipped the coin to kick off a reprise of the match at Cypress Point which was the culmination of the $100 million campaign to get the First Tee on an endowed footing.
He's a great guy. I wish he was here tonight. And from everybody at the PGA Tour we owe him a big debt for what he did for the PGA Tour for so many years. Fred Couples, I just wanted to say something about Fred Couples because from the folks who do our business, the volunteers that work around the country that put on tournaments, the sponsors that invest in tournaments, the television networks that spend a lot of money to pay for the rights to create these pictures, there are only a few players that come along in generation after generation that do what we call move the needle, that really bring so much interest, so much enthusiasm from our fan base that it changes what a golf tournament is all about. And with Fred Couples, you saw it just a couple weeks ago at Augusta. When his name was on the leaderboard in early rounds at Augusta, it changed what that tournament was all about this year.
That's what Fred Couples has done for the PGA Tour for many, many, many years. And to see him continue to play at the level he plays at and on the side to now, for his third time as Presidents Cup captain, is enormously positive. So as I turn you over to this video narrated by Jim Nantz about what Fred Couples has been, I just want to say to him, on behalf of our charities, our tournaments, our volunteers, our players, you have really increased the value in this sport. You have made it grow, and we owe you a huge debt of gratitude. (Video shown.)
JIM NANTZ: Never underestimate the power of a dream. We would sit in our dorm room and we would play act the Butler Cabin ceremony. I figured it was good for both of us. We both could learn something. Blaine McCallister was right there participating with us, too. The one thing I guess we screwed up, we never rehearsed the World Golf Hall of Fame induction speech. So ladies and gentlemen, it's one of the greatest honors of my life to turn the stage over to World Golf Hall of Famer Fred Couples.
FRED COUPLES: Hello, friends. That's what I got out of 1978 in a dorm room with Jimmy. He used that line then, and he's still using it. But I do have a lot of friends out here tonight. It's been a remarkable weekend, and I'll get to them a little later. But there's a big question: How did I get here? From Seattle, Washington, I caddied for a friend of my brother's, Steve Dallas, and by caddying for him, he gave me a set of clubs. By caddying, let me rephrase that, as Monty would say, I pushed his trolly. I didn't carry his clubs. I was nine years old. I didn't know what I was doing. We were baseball people. My brother was a baseball player, my father was a baseball player, and at nine I didn't know what I was going to be, but I knew it wasn't a caddie.
But he did give me, I must say, a plastic there was a little canvas bag, I'm sure I'm not the only one in the world that got one of these from some supermarket, but it was a plastic driver, a 5, 7 and 9 and a putter, and I fell in love with the game. I went up to Jefferson Park and played every day, and my sister, I mentioned my brother, my sister is here, and I'm not really going to throw her under the bus, but I am going to say that when we were growing up, she's two years older this is I can throw her under the bus but I won't, that there was a little bit of friction in what little Freddie got and what Cindy got. So I was the spoiled one in the family because I'm sure everyone here got an allowance when they were young, and I got an allowance, I got $5 a day, 35 bucks a week. She got, I think, $8 a week. But all mine was spent at Jefferson, and with that $5 every day when I left I would put my hand out to my mom, and she'd slap a little five spot, I got on my bike, drove to Jefferson, slapped it around, had a burger and went home.
Then at the age of 14 I was lucky enough to get involved to go to a clinic at a course up in Seattle that an unbelievable PGA Tour player was playing at, or doing a clinic, and I got up front and I was staring at him, and after a couple hours when I went back, I wasn't really the person who said that's what I want to do, I'm going to be a PGA Tour player, but I knew I wanted to really, really get involved in golf. And the gentleman's name was Lee Trevino, who has been a mentor and someone I love.
But getting through that, I then went to O'Dea High School, which is an all boys' school, which was awesome for me. I couldn't get into a whole lot of trouble. As a senior there, I was I almost said drafted, but I got calls from Coach Williams at the University of Houston, and I chose U of H one August day. I flew into Houston, coach picked me up and gave me a ride back to the athletic department where the first three guys I met were Jim Nantz, who's down there, Blaine McCallister over here, five time winner on the PGA Tour, and my roommate for three years, John Horne. I can tell you this, we absolutely had a ball, and it is true. Blaine and I will tell you I don't know if we got sick of it, but every night he'd come home from something that we were jealous about, whether he had an interview with Muhammad Ali or whether he interviewed big Elvin Hayes or Nolan Ryan, but he came back and he played these. We went over this a bunch and mine was a Masters, and he talked about that.
But that was truly remarkable, and it's my greatest win ever, and I want to thank Jimmy for all his help over the years. And then obviously I turned pro. I went to school three years, and I'm going to say thank you to a couple people in here because I've had the greatest playground for 33 years, and that's been the PGA Tour, and my two commissioners have been obviously Deane Beman and then Tim Finchem, and going further with Tim, he did mention, which was obviously I think a great choice a few years back to get me to be the Presidents Cup captain, and I will tell you a reason why.
A lot of people in this room, I have a lot of friends over here that it is true that I've actually had them call several times to leave me a wake up call for my tee times because as you know now if you miss your pro am tee time you're withdrawing from the tournament. These are great rules, but I couldn't put myself together, let alone have Tim, given the opportunity to run the Presidents Cup for 12 guys, which I love doing. And after Harding Park, one of the guys came up to me, Phil Mickelson, and he looked at me, and he didn't congratulate me, didn't say anything. He goes, "Dude, I've got to tell you, I didn't think you had it in you, but you did a hell of a job."
And I know Phil was going to be here tonight, but that is as true as it gets. And then while on Tour, I have had several great things happen, and I'll go back to after 14, five years later when I mentioned Lee Trevino, I qualified in Seattle for the U.S. Open at Inverary in Ohio, and I made the cut as an 18 year old and I was paired Saturday with Lee Trevino, and probably wouldn't cry on the tee but I was as nervous there as I was right now. And so we get to the tee, and it's a hell of a hole. It's no 3 wood, but I knew I couldn't tee my ball up, so I grabbed my ball and dropped it on the tee and I didn't even tee it up because I knew I would be too nervous to do it. Lee Trevino always calls me cupcakes, cupcakes, what the hell you doing. He's a Hall of Famer but he's an unbelievable real buddy of mine even though he's much older, much better, much everything. But he's truly amazing.
And then a couple other mentors I had that I think we all know, Ray Floyd was a Ryder Cup captain in Europe, and I was on his team. We lost, which was not unusual, but we did lose, and after that I kind of asked him a lot of things, and he taught me a couple things, how to be a better player. And after realizing that there was another guy on the team, Tom Watson, who you look up to these people but you play with them and you just can't imagine how good they are, and I know Monty is the same with a lot of people, I'm the same. You look at people.
So I asked Tom Watson a long time ago on an off week, can I go stay with you at your house and learn a little bit. He says, sure, come on. So sure enough, I fly into Kansas City, I'm thinking we're going to hit balls for five hours a day for five days, I'm going to ask him how he makes all these putts.
First day we made bullets for rifles, the second day we fished, which I don't even know how to fish, the third day we shot skeet, I never hit a clay pigeon nor a bird nor a rabbit or anything. And so the last day we're in his garage, and I didn't really need to pack my bag because I never unpacked my clubs, but I found a 3 wood which was a ladies' driver in his garage, and I'm looking at this thing, and I said, can I take this. He goes, yeah, it's Linda's, go ahead and have it. It's not a bad thing.
But I took this thing, and I played in a lot of Presidents Cups with it. I played in a lot of Ryder Cups with it. And in about an hour or whenever I finish this, you will see it in my trophy case next door. It's the 3 wood that I used for several years, which is like a mini driver. But that maybe was better than getting five hours of practice that I got this driver, which I used for a 3 wood.
And getting off of guys that were mentors, I had a ton of contemporaries. One is in this room that I've grown up with who also I want to get this right. We tied, John Cook and I, as amateurs at Inverary that year. He's here tonight. I have friends Mike Donald who I grew up playing the Tour with. We all know Mike. He had an unbelievable chance to win a U.S. Open in Chicago and Hale Irwin made some 75 footer on the last green to beat Mike. But those were two guys I played a lot of golf with, and there's certainly many more. Jay Haas was my assistant the last two years and now this year with the Presidents Cup. And then you get down to, as I said, Phil, who I call a great friend, but great friends kind of don't make putts in the 2006 Masters on top of you all the time, otherwise I would call him even a better friend because I'd have two Masters trophies in that case that we're going to go see here in a little while.
And to finish it, I thought Davis Love was going to be here but he couldn't make it. I guess they're all at an outing somewhere doing what they do best, playing golf. But I'm sure shortly in the near future I'll be here watching Davis be elected in the Hall of Fame. And then finally yes, he's well deserved.
And then finally, I've had incredible teachers. I was really self taught but teachers that watched me play in Seattle would be Steve Dallas who gave me my clubs, and then after him would be Steve Cole, who gave my little tidbits. When I got on the PGA Tour, the late great Dick Harmon, I started to work with Dick, and Paul Marchand who was a U of H teammate, was assistant pro there, and then Dick turned the reins over to Paul and Paul and I ran for I want to say over 20 years there. He taught me. And then I took a little sabbatical and went to work with Butch Harmon. If you haven't seen the couple weeks ago Paul and I were at Augusta fighting it out trying to figure out my swing, and if Paul will have me, I'll have Paul the rest of my life as my teacher as long as I can play, so Paul, thank you.
And then to finish it off, Paul has watched me hit a lot of balls, but these guys have walked with me when I hit a lot of balls. The one TPC where I had the red Houston pants on, that was Linn Strickler caddying for me who's here, and Joey LaCava who was with me for over 20 years, and I can tell you and for people who wonder what do we do in four or five hours on the course, I can tell you I don't stay focused but I do a lot of talking and a lot of complaining and a lot of brunts of jokes, but Joey was he was awesome. And then to finish up the last couple years I've had Cayce Kerr, and all three of those guys are here with me tonight, and I really appreciate it. So we'll end up with a caddie so we're hitting all the spots, and then obviously I have a ton of family and friends here that have made this trip. I mentioned my brother Tommy, my sister Cindy, if the rest would stand up and just wave to me because there's too many to start naming.
And then my manager all my life, Lynn Roach and his wife Tammy are here. I want to thank you for all your support, and my girlfriend Nadine, who is becoming a golf junkie. She knows more about sports than I'll ever know, which is saying a lot with Joey and I, what we talk about. But Nadine, you're awesome and I appreciate all your support.
And then to finish, just to thank the Hall of Fame for all they've done, for Monty, myself, Mr. Schofield, Willie Park, who I don't know, but you did a lot for him, and Mr. Venturi, who we're all going to talk about him tonight, but one of the lucky things you get to do is when you know a guy like Jim Nantz, you get to do things, and I went to several dinners at golf tournaments with the CBS staff and Kenny Venturi was there for 10 years of it I got to go. I miss him a lot, but I know Jimmy knew something was going on when he would get me these dinners, and the stories and Davis Love was part of these, and the stories Kenny would tell. You'd wake up the next day on Friday or Saturday and you'd be so jacked up to play these golf tournaments. CBS actually called a lot of my wins, and Jimmy Nantz was part of them. So I want to thank CBS, Jim Nantz, Ken Venturi for all the support you've given me.
I'm going to finish, I'm going to read it, because I was told to finish with a bang. So I want to say I should know this because it's not really that long. Thanks for taking a kid from Seattle and putting him into the Hall of Fame. This is the coolest night of my life.
DAN HICKS: Fred, whatever you learned in that Houston dorm room, it worked tonight. Congratulations, Cupcakes. You're now immortalized, and congratulations to all the inductees tonight. Congratulations to all of you. Thanks to all their families and friends for coming out and sharing this incredible evening here tonight. It's been a great night.
The transcript for the above ceremony is courtesy of ASAP Sports.
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