Watson among Inaugural Members of Kansas City Golf Hall of Fame

Not surprisingly, Tom Watson will be a member of the inaugural class of the new Kansas City (Mo.) Golf Hall of Fame. According to the Kansas City Star, there will be a private induction ceremony following the Kansas City Golf Association board of directors meeting at noon Saturday.

Watson will be joined by Stan Thirsk, his teacher and former PGA professional; Bob Reid, former Kansas City Golf Association executive director; Opal Hill, a founding member of the LPGA who taught golf at Hillcrest and Blue Hills; Leland "Duke" Gibson, a head professional at Blue Hills for 25 years; Miriam Burns (Horn) Tyson, who won seven Kansas City Women's Match Play championships; and Chester "Chet" Mendenhall, a course designer and a charter member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, which is based in Lawrence, Kan.

"The creation of the Kansas City Golf Hall of Fame is a key to our goal of preserving our past and honoring the accomplishments and contributions of individuals who have made golf and golfers in this area great," association president Dick Sauer said in a statement announcing the Hall of Fame class.

"Our hope is to build a Hall of Fame that will become a coveted honor, one that will recognize a wide range of individuals who have distinguished themselves through their competitive records or their contributions to the great history and growth of golf in the Kansas City area."

Watson is one of America's greatest all-time golfers. Now 64, he totaled 39 wins while competing on the PGA Tour between 1974 and 1998, with eight of those titles being major championships, including five British Open victories. The only Grand Slam event he didn't win was the PGA Championship.

After joining the Champions Tour in 1999, he reeled off another 14 victories, including six majors on the over-50 circuit - including two Senior PGA Championship titles. While still actively competing on both tours, Watson launched a golf course design firm - the Tom Watson Design Company based in Kansas City, and his design and renovation work has taken place on three different continents.

Before turning professional, Watson won Kansas City match play titles in 1964 and 1967.

Watson, who will serve as the captain of the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team - a role he also held in 1993, is already a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. In 2002, the Stanford graduate was inducted into the Bay Area (Calif.) Sports Hall of Fame.