Wednesday, September 23

First Class Enters Virginia Golf Hall of Fame

I LIVE IN VIRGINIA AND WOULD say it's a good state for golf with a rich history. But until this year Virginia didn't have a golf hall of fame.

"Five legendary Virgnia golfers and a longtime volunteer rules official will be the first class of inducted into the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame," wrote Bill Millsaps in the July/August issue of Virginia Golfer. "Those being honored as the inaugural class include: Sam Snead, Vinny Giles, Curtis Strange, Lanny Wadkins, Chandler Harper and Clyde Luther."

It's a solid list. All five players are major championship winners (I'm counting the U.S. Amateur, which Giles won in 1972). And while you may have never heard of rules official Luther (I hadn't), his credentials are impeccable.

"The first inductees in the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame reflect the tradition of excellence long established in our state and represent elite achievements in golf," said Gib Palmer, president of the Virginia State Golf Association and the chair of the nine-person hall-of-fame selection committee.


Sam Snead. With 82 PGA Tour victories, including seven majors, Snead, of course, is also in the World Golf Hall of Fame. "The Slammer" was the oldest player to win a tour event. He was 52.

Vinny Giles. In addition to winning the 1972 U.S. Amateur, Giles won the British Amateur, three Virginia Opens and seven Virginia Amateurs.

Chandler Harper
Curtis Strange. Strange is the last man to win back-to-back U.S. Opens. He pulled off the rare double in 1988 and 1989. (Ben Hogan won consecutive U.S. Opens in 1950 and 1951.) Strange was also the first tour player to earn more than $1 million in a season. He is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Lanny Wadkins. Lanny's victories include a U.S. Amateur, PGA Championship and Players Championship. He played on eight U.S. Ryder Cup teams and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2009.

Chandler Harper. Born in 1914, Harper was a terrific golfer who won seven times on the PGA Tour, including the 1950 PGA Championship. He also collected a bunch of state titles (11 Virginia Opens) and was a mentor to Curtis Strange.

Clyde Luther. Luther officiated in 120 USGA championships, three Presidents Cups, the Masters and PGA Championship.

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