Norman leads class of six into Hall of Fame


Monday, November 12th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (AP) _ Greg Norman took his place among golf's greatest players Sunday night, paying tribute to Jack Nicklaus for his example that learning to lose gracefully was as important as winning.

Norman and the late Payne Stewart were among six new members inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame during a 90-minute ceremony at the World Golf Village that showcased style and success by players, administrators and equipment pioneers.

The others were two-time U.S. Women's Open champion Donna Caponi, Ping Golf founder Karsten Solheim, former U.S. Golf Association president Judy Bell and Allan Robertson of Scotland, believed to be the first golf professional.

``The game of golf can give you a lot, but the game of golf can take a lot away from you,'' Norman said. ``Being a great loser is probably the hardest thing to do in life. I learned that from Jack Nicklaus. He's also a great winner.''

Norman was both.

The man who won the British Open twice as part of his 75 victories around the world is known equally for the losses. Some of them were self-inflicted, like the final-round 78 at the 1996 Masters. Some of them were flukes, such as Larry Mize chipping in from 140 feet at the '87 Masters, and Bob Tway holing a bunker shot at the '86 PGA Championship.

Among those in attendance was Nick Faldo, who overcame the six-stroke deficit at Augusta National to deny Norman the major championship that meant so much to him.

Norman handled the collapse with such dignity that he received an overflow of support, which he has carried with him the rest of his career.

``He was a great champion that day,'' Norman said. ``I inflicted a lot of punishment on myself. The outcrying of public support changed my approach to people in life. I thank him for that.''

The Hall of Fame now has 90 members.

The induction came one day after Stewart and his widow, Tracey, would have celebrated their 20th anniversary.

``What excites me the most is that we are here to recognize Payne's achievements as a golfer and his contributions to the game,'' Mrs. Stewart said, her two children sitting on the front row.

Stewart performed on every continent where golf is played, and his 18 victories around the world included three major championships. The last one was the most memorable, a second U.S. Open with a 15-foot par putt on the 72nd hold. He died four months later.

``Payne always dreamed of having a Hall of Fame career,'' Mrs. Stewart said. ``He would have cherished the honor of being with you here.''

There were other touching moments.

Bell, elected through the Lifetime Achievement category, became the first woman to serve as USGA president. She was diagnosed with cancer to the peritoneum six weeks ago.

``They say it's treatable,'' she said earlier in the day. ``I'm optimistic, and I'll try to behave myself.''

Solheim revolutionized the equipment industry, starting with his famous Ping putters. He developed concepts that are standard for most clubs in the modern game, such as perimeter-weighted irons and investment casting so clubs could be produced in masses without losing quality.

Robertson was a little bit of everything. He died in 1859, the year before the first British Open, and served as a mentor to Old Tom Morris. It is said that Robertson never lost a singles match.

He helped others, too, making the premier golf ball of his generation _ the featherie, made of goose down packed into a round hide.

Caponi became the 19th member of the LPGA Hall of Fame, a career that began with her whacking her father in the head when he took her to a practice range after buying her first set of golf clubs. She won 24 times, including four majors.
Norman leads class of six into Hall of Fame

Eds: SUBS 3rd graf to CORRECT spelling of Karsten

By DOUG FERGUSON

AP Golf Writer

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (AP) _ Greg Norman took his place among golf's greatest players Sunday night, paying tribute to Jack Nicklaus for his example that learning to lose gracefully was as important as winning.

Norman and the late Payne Stewart were among six new members inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame during a 90-minute ceremony at the World Golf Village that showcased style and success by players, administrators and equipment pioneers.

The others were two-time U.S. Women's Open champion Donna Caponi, Ping Golf founder Karsten Solheim, former U.S. Golf Association president Judy Bell and Allan Robertson of Scotland, believed to be the first golf professional.

``The game of golf can give you a lot, but the game of golf can take a lot away from you,'' Norman said. ``Being a great loser is probably the hardest thing to do in life. I learned that from Jack Nicklaus. He's also a great winner.''

Norman was both.

The man who won the British Open twice as part of his 75 victories around the world is known equally for the losses. Some of them were self-inflicted, like the final-round 78 at the 1996 Masters. Some of them were flukes, such as Larry Mize chipping in from 140 feet at the '87 Masters, and Bob Tway holing a bunker shot at the '86 PGA Championship.

Among those in attendance was Nick Faldo, who overcame the six-stroke deficit at Augusta National to deny Norman the major championship that meant so much to him.

Norman handled the collapse with such dignity that he received an overflow of support, which he has carried with him the rest of his career.

``He was a great champion that day,'' Norman said. ``I inflicted a lot of punishment on myself. The outcrying of public support changed my approach to people in life. I thank him for that.''

The Hall of Fame now has 90 members.

The induction came one day after Stewart and his widow, Tracey, would have celebrated their 20th anniversary.

``What excites me the most is that we are here to recognize Payne's achievements as a golfer and his contributions to the game,'' Mrs. Stewart said, her two children sitting on the front row.

Stewart performed on every continent where golf is played, and his 18 victories around the world included three major championships. The last one was the most memorable, a second U.S. Open with a 15-foot par putt on the 72nd hold. He died four months later.

``Payne always dreamed of having a Hall of Fame career,'' Mrs. Stewart said. ``He would have cherished the honor of being with you here.''

There were other touching moments.

Bell, elected through the Lifetime Achievement category, became the first woman to serve as USGA president. She was diagnosed with cancer to the peritoneum six weeks ago.

``They say it's treatable,'' she said earlier in the day. ``I'm optimistic, and I'll try to behave myself.''

Solheim revolutionized the equipment industry, starting with his famous Ping putters. He developed concepts that are standard for most clubs in the modern game, such as perimeter-weighted irons and investment casting so clubs could be produced in masses without losing quality.

Robertson was a little bit of everything. He died in 1859, the year before the first British Open, and served as a mentor to Old Tom Morris. It is said that Robertson never lost a singles match.

He helped others, too, making the premier golf ball of his generation _ the featherie, made of goose down packed into a round hide.

Caponi became the 19th member of the LPGA Hall of Fame, a career that began with her whacking her father in the head when he took her to a practice range after buying her first set of golf clubs. She won 24 times, including four majors.