Lanny Wadkins, a longtime Dallas resident who won the 1988 Colonial title, has been selected as the latest inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Officials made the announcement today during a news conference in Savannah, Ga., where Wadkins is scheduled to compete in this week’s Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf event on the Champions Tour.
Wadkins, 59, won 21 PGA Tour events during his career, including the 1977 PGA Championship.
Wadkins also fashioned a 20-11-3 record as a Ryder Cup competitor, scoring 21.5 points for the U.S. in Ryder Cup competition. Only Billy Casper (23.5) and Arnold Palmer (23) have scored more points for U.S. teams.
Wadkins, a former CBS golf analyst and 1995 Ryder Cup captain, cited his Cup-clinching birdie on the final hole of his 1983 singles match with Jose Maria Canizares as his greatest career moment and “the only time in my life when I opened my mouth and was unable to talk” because he was overcome with emotion.
Wadkins’ path to the Hall of Fame was assured when he received the highest percentage of votes (61 pct.) among PGA Tour players on the 2009 ballot. He will be the only tour player enshrined this year.
“It’s a huge honor,” said Wadkins, whose list of titles included the 1973 Byron Nelson Classic and the 1970 U.S. Amateur. “When you start playing the game, all you do is play it for fun. Even when I was on tour, I never envisioned this day happening.”
_ Jimmy Burch