Saturday, March 2, 2024

Harrington, LPGA founders join ’24 Golf Hall of Fame class

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland, the late Tom Weiskopf and the remaining founders of the LPGA Tour were among those elected Wednesday for the World Golf Hall of Fame.

The induction will be June 10, 2024, the Monday ahead of the U.S. Open in Pinehurst, North Carolina. The six inductees — the LPGA founders were voted as one — is the largest class since six were inducted in 2008.

Others to be elected by a 20-member panel of golf leaders, media and four Hall of Fame members were Sandra Palmer, whose 19 career wins on the LPGA Tour included two majors; three-time major champion Beverly Hanson; and former U.S. Open champion Johnny Farrell.

Harrington and Palmer are the only two living players who were elected.

Among the finalists who did not get 75% of the voting were swing coach Butch Harmon and Dottie Pepper, the two-time LPGA major champion and longtime golf analyst.

Harrington, a finalist in the previous Hall of Fame election, broke through for his first major by winning the British Open at Carnoustie in a playoff over Sergio Garcia. The following year, he won the Open at Royal Birkdale and then added the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills.

“It’s somewhat humbling. At this stage of my life, it gives me some validation to what I’ve done in golf,” Harrington said. “This is a deep-down satisfaction, and I’m very proud to be included with the players before me. Seeing your name beside the names that I’ve looked up to as a boy and young golfer, it’s very nice.”

Weiskopf, who died last August of pancreatic cancer, won 16 times on the PGA Tour and captured his lone major at Royal Troon in the British Open. His contributions extended to golf architecture and candid unfailingly accurate commentary on television. His design work was known for the short par 4s, among the most exciting and enjoyable holes.

Palmer went seven years before winning her first LPGA event in 1971, and then she won with alarming regularity. Her first major was the 1975 U.S. Open.

“I’m overcome with emotion and very grateful,” Palmer said. “I just couldn’t believe it when I got the call, this is my sixth time to be nominated. What an incredible group of women that I played with over the years. I’m definitely going to have some champagne. It’s one of those times that you sit down and your whole career comes before you.”

Hanson was renowned not only for what she won but whom she beat. The North Dakota native won 17 times on the LPGA Tour and three majors. She won her first event as a pro by beating Babe Zaharias, and she won two of her majors by beating Louise Suggs.

Six of the 13 founders of the LPGA Tour previously were inducted. The other seven were nominated for the ballot as a group, women who promoted the sport, set up the golf course, acted as rules officials and even wrote the pay checks. It was founded in 1950 and has become the most successful women’s sports league in the world, offering some $100 million in prize money without ever getting outside help from other golf leagues.

Farrell previously was a member of the PGA Hall of Fame before it moved to Florida under the name World Golf Hall of Fame. A 22-time winner, he was famous for his one-shot victory in a 36-hole playoff against Bobby Jones in the 1928 U.S. Open. He spent the second half of his life as a club pro at Quaker Ridge and Baltusrol.

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AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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