Zokol & Ross Named to Canadian Golf Hall of Fame

Former PGA Tour regular Richard Zokol and Stephen Ross, a long-time official with the Royal Canadian Golf Association, have been named the 68th and 69th members of the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.

Zokol, who learned the game as a junior at Marine Drive Golf Club in Vancouver, now resides in Kitimat, B.C. His performance at all levels of the sport is impressive, with wins in the 1981 Canadian Amateur, an NCAA team championship while the captain at Brigham Young University, and numerous pro events.

He's the last Canadian to win a PGA Tour event before Mike Weir, an Ontario native. "Being inducted into our country's Golf Hall of Fame is an immeasurable honor considering the past contributions of Canadian legends of the game beforehand," Zokol said in a statement. "The feeling of gratitude of just being considered is overwhelming."

Over his career Zokol had 20 top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour and logged victories on both the Canadian and Nationwide Tours. His best year was 1992 when he won the Greater Milwaukee Open and the Deposit Guaranty Classic, which at the time was an unofficial event. Zokol won the Nationwide Tour's Samsung Canadian PGA title in 2001, and represented Canada several times in World Cup and Dunhill Cup competitions.

Zokol played in each of the major championships at least once, with his best finish a T-14 in the 1993 PGA Championship. Injuries hampered Zokol through much of his career and he spent several years not playing full schedules in the mid-1990s, when he shifted his focus to the business side of golf and consulting with the RCGA on player development. Zokol now runs a highly acclaimed course near Merritt, B.C., called Sagebrush Golf and Sporting Club, which he co-designed with Alberta-based golf architect Rod Whitman.

Many golf fans dubbed Zokol as "Disco Dick" for his penchant for wearing headphones during tournaments so he could listen to music between shots.

"I guess you're never ready for a call like that from the hall of fame committee simply because it's never a goal," Zokol said in an interview with Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun (http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Zokol+gets+well+earned+spot+Canadian+Golf+Hall+Fame/4244745/story.html).

"Even though thoughts may have crossed my mind about whether it would ever happen, reality doesn't hit you until it actually happens. And when it does it's a very humbling feeling. When I got the call I was deeply touched. It brings kind of a validation to the decision to play golf and to commit to a life and devotion to this lovely game."

Zokol's induction ceremony is tentatively scheduled for July 19 at Marine Drive during the week of the RBC Canadian Open, which is being held at nearby Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club. "They asked me if I'd have it in Vancouver the week of the Canadian Open," Zokol told Ziemer. "I think that makes a lot of sense."

Fellow Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member Mike Weir is slated to speak at Zokol's induction ceremony.

A resident of White Rock, B.C., Ross spent nearly 30 years working with the RCGA, including 18 as executive director. He resigned under pressure in 2007 after failing to find a new title sponsor for the Canadian Open, the RCGA's signature event.

Ross said in a separate statement: "It is an honor to be nominated and elected into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. I have worked in golf my entire adult life and it is very rewarding to have my life's work recognized in this way. Congratulations to Richard Zokol and his entire family for his election.

"I accept my election to the Hall on behalf of my family and all those employees who worked with me over the years and helped make this announcement possible."