The Class of 2019 Inductees officially began their ‘Road to Induction’ when they met for the first time at the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum.
The four living Inductees – Retief Goosen, Billy Payne, Jan Stephenson and Dennis Walters – will join the ranks of the World Golf Hall of Fame along with the late Peggy Kirk Bell during the 2019 Induction Ceremony in Pebble Beach, the week of the US Open Championship.
Together, the five Inductees will bring the Hall of Fame Member total up to 160.
During their initial meeting, the Class of 2019 shared stories from their legendary careers as they toured the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum. While visiting, all four expressed their excitement in anticipation of their upcoming Induction.
“It’s extraordinary to be in the World Golf Hall of Fame,” said Payne. “I reflect back on the journey and how I got here. It’s pretty simple – I had the opportunity to lead what may be the finest organisation in all of golf, and most importantly, an organisation which has an unparalleled staff and members who became my best friends and didn’t want me to fail. And because they didn’t, I’ve ended up here in the Hall of Fame.”
Goosen said: “It’s a great honour to be with all these great past champions and people who have done so much for the game of golf. For me to be inducted is a great honour. I’m pretty proud of myself that what I’ve achieved in this game has got me this far.”
During the visit, the Inductees reflected on their successes on and off the golf course, how they would like to be remembered, and their emotions about standing alongside the game’s greatest players and contributors as members of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
“One of my most memorable moments was when Ray Volpe – the LPGA Commissioner at the time – came to me and asked if I would be the new image of the LPGA,” said Stephenson. “It definitely changed everything for me.”
Walters said: “When people look at my career, I’d like them to remember that I had a good spirit and I wasn’t going to give up. I’m hoping that’s contagious.”
The World Golf Hall of Fame 2019 Induction Ceremony will be staged at the Sunset Centre in Carmel-by-the-Sea in California on Monday, June 10, kicking off the week of the US Open Championship.