2019 WGHOF: Peggy Kirk Bell, Retief Goosen, Billy Payne, Jan Stephenson, Dennis Walters

The World Golf Hall of Fame announced the inductees into the class of 2019 which includes Peggy Kirk Bell, Retief Goosen, Billy Payne, Jan Stephenson and Dennis Walters.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Retief Goosen, Billy Payne, Jan Stephenson, Dennis Walters and the late Peggy Kirk Bell will officially join the ranks of the World Golf Hall of Fame as the Class of 2019.

These five new members will be enshrined at the World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Monday, June 10, 2019 in Pebble Beach the week of the men’s U.S. Open Championship. The ceremony will take place at the Sunset Center in Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA.

Following is a brief bio on each new inductee:

Peggy Kirk Bell

United States, Lifetime Achievement

Margaret Anne “Peggy” Kirk Bell took up the game as a teenager, making a name for herself as an amateur star. She went on to become a charter member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association in 1950 after winning the 1949 Titleholders Championship and participating on the winning 1950 Curtis Cup team.

She received the PGA of America’s First Lady of Golf Award in 2007 and was an avid supporter of the game as a top 100 golf instructor, becoming the first woman selected into Golf Magazine’s World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame.


Retief Goosen

South Africa, Male Competitor

Known affectionately as “The Goose,” Retief Goosen sat within the Official World Golf Ranking’s top 10 for more than 250 weeks from 2001 through 2007. His 33 worldwide wins include two U.S. Open Championships in 2001 – the same year he was named European Tour Player of the Year – and 2004.

Goosen led the European Tour Order of Merit in 2001 and 2002. He also played in six consecutive Presidents Cups from 2000 to 2011 as part of the International Team.


Billy Payne

United States, Lifetime Achievement

During his 11 years as Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club from 2006 to 2017, William Porter “Billy” Payne oversaw a number of significant achievements including the introduction of female members into the club’s membership.

He originated the Drive, Chip & Putt National Championship with the USGA and PGA of America and established the Asia-Pacific Amateur and Latin America Amateur tournaments, each offering guaranteed Masters’ spots to the winners.

Named the GWAA’s William D. Richardson Award recipient, Payne also received the Olympic Order after serving as president and CEO of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games from 1992 to ‘96. Continuing his legacy and involvement with the Olympics, Payne was a key figure in the successful return of golf to the 2016 Games.


Jan Stephenson

Australia, Female Competitor

In her first season on the LPGA Tour in 1974, Jan Stephenson was named LPGA’s Rookie of the Year. She went on to lead an impressive career with 20 professional victories, including 16 on the LPGA Tour.

She is a three-time Major Champion with wins at the 1981 du Maurier, 1982 LPGA Championship and the 1983 U.S. Women’s Open. Her impact on the game extends outside of her play as one of the founders of the Women’s Senior Golf Tour.

She is involved with golf course design and has made many charitable contributions including being an honorary chair of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Stephenson was also honored with the Order of Australia Medal in 2018 for her contributions to the game of golf.


Dennis Walters

United States, Lifetime Achievement

Dennis Walters is an elite golfer who was paralyzed from the waist-down at the age of 24 following a golf cart accident. He has since dedicated his career to sharing life lessons and inspiring fans and disabled golfers of all ages through golf clinics and special performances at more than 3,000 worldwide appearances.

Former spokesperson and national ambassador for The First Tee, his message is to always continue hoping and dreaming. He is one of only 11 honorary lifetime members of the PGA of America. Walters was also honored with the 1978 Ben Hogan Award and was a 2018 recipient of the USGA’s Bob Jones Award.

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These five Inductees will bring the total number of World Golf Hall of Fame Members to 160.

“The 2019 Induction Class is one of the most well-rounded groups we’ve had to date,” said Jack Peter, President of the World Golf Hall of Fame. “It is our honor and privilege to welcome Peggy Kirk Bell, Retief Goosen, Billy Payne, Jan Stephenson and Dennis Walters to the World Golf Hall of Fame family. We are excited to begin working with them as we gear up for the Induction Ceremony in Pebble Beach this June.”

The Class of 2019 was elected by the Hall of Fame’s Selection Commission, which debated a group of 15 finalists. The Inductees each passed the required 75 percent voting threshold – approval by at least 12 of the 16 members.

The Selection Commission was Co-Chaired by Hall of Fame Members Nancy Lopez, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam and included the members of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors and a mix of institutional and at-large seats.

The finalists were vetted by the Hall of Fame’s Selection Sub-Committee. The Sub-Committee vetted every candidate that met the qualifications of the Hall of Fame’s four Induction categories.

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As a caddie, greenkeeper, and Ouimet Scholar from Marshfield Country Club on Boston’s South Shore, Leigh developed his love for the game at an early age. The BA from Amherst College and MA from Dartmouth prepared him for his 36-year career in education, most of it teaching Advanced Placement English and coaching varsity golf. In 1986, a sabbatical from teaching students to writing stories for “Golf World” magazine prepared him for his second career in golf journalism. Leigh is a low-handicap golfer who has won the Golf Writers Association of America’s championship seven times. He is currently a member of Southers Marsh Golf Club in Plymouth, MA, and PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, FL.

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