THREE Scots – Colin Montgomerie, Ken Schofield and Willie Park Jnr – will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame next year.
Montgomerie, the 2010 European Ryder Cup captain, was elected via the international ballot, ex-European Tour executive director Schofield has been named for “lifetime achievement” and Park Jnr gained a veterans’ nomination. They will be honoured with fellow inductees Fred Couples and Ken Venturi next May at the World Golf Village in St Augustine, Florida.
Montgomerie was European No 1 for eight years, including seven in succession, and enjoyed a hugely successful Ryder Cup career.
The Scot, 49, was unbeaten in singles matches in his eight consecutive appearances from 1991 and went on to captain the European side which regained the trophy at Celtic Manor.
He said: “It is a wonderful surprise to hear that I will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame next year. I know I am very fortunate to have enjoyed such a successful career playing the game I love and it makes me feel very proud that my achievements have been recognised in this way.
“While my eight Order of Merit wins were very special, as everyone knows my Ryder Cup experiences have provided the very best moments in my career and receiving this great honour is the icing on the cake.”
Schofield became first secretary and executive director of the European Tour on 1 January, 1975.
When he took the helm, the Tour consisted of 17 official events with an official prize fund of £487,202 (€599,084) and, when he retired at the end of 2004, it was made up of 45 official events with official prize money of €106,010,654 (£86million). Schofield said: “I am delighted not just for myself but also for the European Tour. This is an honour for absolutely everyone who, in the last 40 years, helped the Tour become what it is today. For me, it is quite unexpected and I am both delighted and humbled that I should be given a place in the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum in the company of so many great names who have together contributed to making the game of golf so special in our lives.”
Musselburgh-born Park jnr had a hard act to follow given that his father, also Willie, won the first Open Championship in 1860 and ran a successful club and ball-making business in the East Lothian town. However, he, too, made a name for himself, both as a player and course designer. He won the Open Championship himself in 1887 and 1889 and recorded 12 top-ten finishes in the game’s oldest major.
He designed around 200 courses, some of which were in America but also included the renowned old layout at Sunningdale. Park jnr also wrote two books, The Game of Golf and The Art of Putting, basing the latter on what was a strong feature of his game.
The trio will follow Sandy Lyle into the Hall of Fame after the two-time major winner was inducted earlier this year.
Lyle topped the international ballot 12 months ago, pipping Montgomerie by 9 per cent in the poll.
The latest inductees were announced by George O’Grady, the European Tour chief executive, and Jack Peter, the Hall of Fame chief operating officer, prior to the Race to Dubai Golfer of the Year lunch in London yesterday. Montgomerie and Schofield were both in attendance.
O’Grady said: “This is a very special day for golf and for the European Tour. Colin and Ken are unique individuals and their contribution to not only the European Tour, on and off the fairways, but also the Ryder Cup makes them both very worthy candidates for the World Golf Hall of Fame.
“Colin’s achievement in winning the Harry Vardon Trophy eight times, including seven in a row, took considerable talent, skill, imagination, endurance, physical strength and mental resilience.
“Any aspiring and ambitious golfer on the European Tour today craves the opportunity to win the Race to Dubai, which has succeeded the Order of Merit, just once. To do it eight times is universally viewed as a superhuman feat.
“Colin became European No 1 for the eighth time in 2005 which, coincidentally, was the year I succeeded Ken. Unquestionably, Ken’s contribution to the European Tour is incalculable. His vision, passion and reservoir of knowledge established the foundations that we enjoy today and, like Colin, he has enthusiastically supported and taken enormous joy from Europe’s recent triumphs in
the Ryder Cup.”
Peter added: “Colin Montgomerie and Ken Schofield will be excellent additions to the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum. The class of 2013 is a wonderful snapshot of the rich and international history of the game. We look forward to celebrating all of the achievements of this distinguished group at the 2013 induction ceremony.”