Golfers Who Should Be in The World Golf Hall of Fame

These are just the latest figures to be inducted and immortalised within the World Golf Hall of Fame and Museum near St. Augustine, Florida.

Its creation was very much an American concept, with several bodies coming together to create what we now see as the Hall of Fame. Indeed, it’s not been without controversy, as qualification categories have changed, and there have both been some questionable inclusions and exclusions.

We’re going to talk about the latter – those who don’t yet have their name etched within the walls of this impressive facility.

Ignoring those who aren’t eligible yet – but are certain future inductees – like Inbee Park, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth, we have picked out several golfers who are deserving of the recognition that the Hall provides. Last year, Golfshake’s Liam Moore explained why the late Lee Elder should be in the front of the queue.

Padraig Harrington
Now 50, the Irishman is well beyond the 45-age criteria and it’s surely only a matter of time before his achievements are featured within the Hall of Fame. Harrington has enjoyed a fine career in both America and Europe, but it’s his stunning major run over 13 months that sets him apart. Winning the Open at Carnoustie in 2007, he successfully defended it a year later, before then jousting with Sergio Garcia to clinch the PGA Championship. That all makes the man from Dublin a modern great.

Ted Ray
Almost 80 years since his death, the omission of Ted Ray is most peculiar. Somewhat overshadowed by his contemporaries, the Great Triumvirate of James Braid, J.H. Taylor and Harry Vardon, Ray was among the finest golfers of his era, winning the Open at Muirfield in 1912 and the US Open in 1920. He also captained Great Britain & Ireland at the inaugural Ryder Cup in 1927. Famously (alongside Vardon) Ray lost a playoff to amateur Francis Ouimet at the US Open in 1913. Those other participants are Hall of Famers. And Ted Ray should be among them.

Macdonald Smith
From Carnoustie, Smith ventured across the Atlantic to seek his fortune through golf, which he achieved through dozens of victories, with a total of 25 officially recognised by the PGA Tour, the most by any player not currently in the Hall of Fame. Smith didn’t win any of what we now see as the major championships – he was a three-time runner-up – but his triumphs at the Western Open and North and South Open were of that stature in the 1920s and that deserves to be reflected today.

Dottie Pepper
A formidable Solheim Cup player and two-time major champion, Dottie Pepper has spent most of the last two decades as a hugely successful broadcaster, part of NBC and more recently CBS, where she regularly covers the PGA Tour. Her tenacity on the golf course and achievements on television should make her truly part of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Norman von Nida
One of the most significant players in the history of Australian golf, von Nida set the standard for the likes of Peter Thomson and Kel Nagle to reach for. He won dozens of professional events – despite World War Two getting in the way of arguably his prime years – and ventured across the world to compete in Britain, where he topped the Order of Merit in 1947. Should the Hall of Fame be genuinely a WORLD institution, then von Nida’s place is a must.

Tom Weiskopf
Considering he is a four-time runner-up at the Masters – his playing career may have been a case of what might have been for Tom Weiskopf, but he still managed to accomplish a considerable amount. Winning 16 times on the PGA Tour – including the 1973 Open at Troon – this big man from Ohio boasted an envied swing, had major success as a senior golfer, before establishing a presence on television and as a golf course architect. Get him in there!

Sandra Palmer
Twice a major winner and one of the most prodigious LPGA stars of her era, the Texan was among the finalists for induction this time, but that should certainly be rectified the next time more names are included within the Hall of Fame. Spending ten consecutive years among the top ten money earners on the circuit, she deserves to be alongside her leading contemporaries of the 1970s.

Beverly Hanson
Winner of the first LPGA Championship in 1955, Hanson also won the 1956 Women’s Western Open and 1958 Titleholders Championship. Those three major titles were part of a stunning decade of success, which came to a close when the 1960s began. That has perhaps led her achievements to be underrated – but they shouldn’t be.

Tony Lema
A former US Marine, Tony Lema was a magnificently gifted player – five-time Open winner Peter Thomson considered him to be one of the best he had ever seen. Lema’s early years on tour were renowned for his vivacious lifestyle and struggles to repay debts to wealthy backer Eddie Lowery. However, after finally claiming his first victory in 1962, Lema won 12 times on the circuit, including the 1964 Open at St Andrews. Destined for stardom and further greatness, Lema and his wife Betty Cline tragically lost their lives in a plane crash in 1966. He was just 32. Lema’s story merits a place within the Hall of Fame, recognition for his success, personality, and the loss of a career and life cut too short.

Liselotte Neumann
Before Annika, there was Lotta. Liselotte Neumann became the first Swedish golfer to win a major championship when she claimed the US Women’s Open in 1988. She later enjoyed considerable success on both the LPGA and LET and was part of six Solheim Cup teams, before captaining Europe to their first away triumph in Colorado in 2013. That ticks more than a few Hall of Fame boxes.

So, there are you have just some names who would fit nicely into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Who would you add alongside them?

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