Finally: Strange, Green join golf hall of fame

Associated Press • Apr 18, 2007 at 10:36 AM

SAVANNAH, Ga. - It almost became a rite of spring for Curtis Strange and Hubert Green, two players with Hall of Fame credentials and blunt opinions who kept watching their peers get one of the highest honors in golf.

"I never really thought much about the Hall of Fame until Hubert would call me every year about this time and say, ‘Did you get the call?'" Strange said. "And I would say, ‘No. You?'"

The call finally arrived for both Wednesday.

Strange, the dominant American golfer of the 1980s whose career was defined by his consecutive U.S. Open victories, was elected through the PGA Tour ballot with 70 percent of the vote, easily getting the required 65 percent.

Green won 19 times and two majors, no victory more memorable than the 1977 U.S. Open at Southern Hills when he was told of a death threat on the back nine of the final round and handled it with fearless tenacity.

"On 15, I hit my second shot in the back of the green; the pin was in the front," Green recalled. "I got over the putt and I'm thinking, ‘Am I supposed to be shot?' Hit the putt. Didn't hear anything. I said, ‘Chicken.' Didn't say it too loud."

He was selected through the Veteran's Category.

That brings total membership in the World Golf Hall of Fame to 114. Se Ri Pak has qualified through the LPGA Tour and will become eligible when she plays her 10th tournament this year, giving her the required 10 years on tour. The World Golf Hall of Fame will announce other selections through either the Veteran's Category or Lifetime Achievement this summer.

The induction ceremony is Nov. 12 at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla.

No one was elected from the International ballot. If no one receives the necessary 65 percent, the highest vote-getter is elected provided he gets at least 50 percent. Jumbo Ozaki of Japan got 46 percent of the vote, followed by Jose Maria Olazabal (43 percent) and Sandy Lyle (37 percent).

From the PGA Tour ballot, Craig Wood had 57 percent of the vote. Lanny Wadkins had 50 percent.

The 52-year-old Strange won 17 times on the PGA Tour. While some of his peers (Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite) won more often, Strange was considered the best American in a decade when global stars emerged like Greg Norman, Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo.

Green, who overcame oral cancer four years ago, captured all but three of his 19 tour victories in the 1970s. His final win was the 1985 PGA Championship at Cherry Hills, where he defeated Lee Trevino by two shots.

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