Nelson voted into World Hall of Fame
|||Mid-Pacific Open's tradition hard to beat|
Larry Nelson, overlooked as a Ryder Cup captain and often forgotten despite his remarkable journey from Vietnam War veteran to three-time major champion, finally got his due yesterday when he was elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
"Of all the awards, nothing can top this," Nelson said.
Nelson was elected on the PGA Tour ballot by getting 65 percent of the vote, the minimum required.
He will be inducted Oct. 30 at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., along with the late Henry Picard, selected through the veteran's category; and Vijay Singh, who deferred his induction after being elected last year. That will bring membership in the Hall of Fame to 112.
Nelson's election came in his 11th year on the PGA Tour ballot, and in many respects, it was overdue.
He won the PGA Championship twice and the 1983 U.S. Open at Oakmont, joining Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Seve Ballesteros as the only players to capture three majors in the 1980s. Nelson played on three Ryder Cup teams, posting a 9-3-1 record and becoming the only player to go 5-0 in a Ryder Cup.
But he was passed over as U.S. captain the past four times, with the PGA of America opting for Tom Lehman for this year's matches.
"This honor is so far greater than that," Nelson said. "I don't relate the two things. This has to do with my career. The Ryder Cup captain has to do with three or four people deciding who does that for the year."
Picard, who died in 1997, won 26 times on the PGA Tour, including the 1938 Masters and the 1939 PGA Championship. He later became a teacher, with Hall of Famer Beth Daniel among his pupils.
No one was elected from the International ballot, with Jumbo Ozaki heading the list with 46 percent of the vote. An inductee from the Lifetime Achievement category is expected later this spring.
Nelson defining victory might have been the U.S. Open at Oakmont in 1983, when he beat Watson by one shot.
Nelson added the '87 PGA Championship at PGA National, beating Lanny Wadkins in a playoff. He ended his career with 10 victories.