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Willie Park Jr. In The WGHOF!

Still no Tillinghast, but Willie Park Jr. is a worthy inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame. This will be the second father-son tandem in the hall, following Old Tom and Young Tom Morris, explains Garry Smits.

For Immediate Release... 

St. Augustine, Fla. (Nov. 15, 2012) – The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum will induct Willie Park Jr. as part of the Class of 2013. Along with his father, World Golf Hall of Fame member Willie Park Sr., Park helped form one of the legendary families in golf history. He is the third member of the Class of 2013 and will be inducted through the Veterans Category.

Park will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at its Induction Ceremony on Monday, May 6, 2013, at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla. The Ceremony will once again kick off THE PLAYERS Championship week.

Park is one of the Open Championship’s most distinguished players, winning in 1887 and 1889 while compiling 12 top-10 finishes in golf’s oldest major. He also did pioneering work in many other areas of the game both in Europe and the United States.

"Willie Park Jr.’s contributions to the game as a player, architect, innovator and writer were truly extraordinary," said Mike Davis, USGA Executive Director and chairman of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors. “He not only advanced the status of professional golfers, but also was influential in shaping the early development of golf in the United States. This is an overdue, well-deserved recognition.”

Park was born in Musselburgh, Scotland in 1864; four years after his father won the first Open Championship at Prestwick. Young Willie quickly took to the family business of ball and club making. He developed a reputation as an outstanding player and played his first Open Championship as a 16-year-old in 1880.

After five top-10 finishes without a victory, Park finally broke through and won the Open title in 1887, fittingly at Prestwick. Park added his second Open title in 1889 at another special place, his home of Musselburgh – the final time it was played there.

Park used his prowess as a player as a springboard to other facets of the game. He continued pioneering ball and club design, registering several patents and expanding the family business. Park's seminal 1896 book “The Game of Golf” was the first about golf written by a professional golfer. His widely acclaimed “The Art of Putting” was published in 1920.

Park made an impressive mark in golf course architecture as well, having designed or modified more than 200 courses in Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Sunningdale Golf Club outside of London is one of his most famous designs. His success in this arena carried him to the United States and Canada in 1916, where he continued to design courses of the highest quality, including the Maidstone Club in New York and Royal Quebec Golf Club.

"It is a tremendous honor for the family to have a second member recognized for his contribution to the game,” said Mungo Park, Willie Park Jr.’s great nephew and family historian. “Willie Jr., possibly more than any other, marked the transition from the old-school caddy and player to the modern professional golfer and businessman. He gave up high-stake money matches for energetic golf course design. His playing skill was undoubted, particularly with the putter, but it is his courses that provide the most impressive legacy.”

Park joins Fred Couples and Ken Venturi in the Class of 2013. The Hall of Fame will round out the Class, including the International Ballot, in a future announcement.

“The addition of Willie Park Jr. to the Hall of Fame is a significant one,” said Hall of Fame Chief Operating Officer Jack Peter. “The Hall of Fame celebrates the rich history of the game, and that story cannot be told without the tremendous contributions of the Park family. To have Willie Park Jr. join his father in the Hall of Fame is truly fitting.”

Here's a nice Tom MacWood write up of Willie Jr.

A view of one of Park Jr.'s sleek putter designs...take that Jonny Ive!

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Reader Comments (10)

HIgh bloody time -- and I don't mean Fred Couples or Ken Venturi. I can't imagine anyo0ne lobbying for Couples if he had had to wait as long as Park.
11.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGhillie
Willie Park Jr., not to be confused with Willie Park Sr, his father who has four Open Championships.

That said, even Willie Park Sr. does not make it to my Real Golf Hall of Fame (he is just on the outside looking in)

As previous published, here are my Real Golf Hall of Fame Members in order of "Greatness & Impact on the Game":

1 Jack Nicklaus
2 Tiger Woods - Active
3 Old Tom Morris
4 Bobby Jones
5 Arnold Palmer
6 Harry Vardon
7 Byron Nelson
8 Walter Hagen
9 Tom Watson
10 Ben Hogan
11 Gary Player
12 Sam Snead
13 Gene Sarazen
14 Young Tom Morris
15 James Braid
16 Seve Ballestaros
17 Lee Trevino
19 Allan Robertson
19 JH Taylor
20 Nick Faldo
21 Phil Mickelson - Active
22 Ernie Els - Active
23 Peter Thompson
24 Bobby Locke


And, if i relented and watered the slippery slope a little bit

25 Greg Norman
26 Nick Price
27 Billy Casper
28 Tommy Armour
29 Jimmy Demaret
30 Willie Park Sr.
11.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAbu Dhabi Golfer
However, among the three entrants this year, Willie Park Jr is a little more worthy than The President Cup's Favourite Aunt and the Drama Queen from Congressional.
11.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAbu Dhabi Golfer

Nice list, but you missed John Ball who had a huge impact on the game in Britain when the British Amateur was equal to the Open championship in importance.
11.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterHilltop
ADG: Don't you understand? Everyone gets a trophy now. In the US anyway. Nice list, again. I'd consider Ted Ray, btw. Won 1/3 of the US Opens he played in.
11.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Oh man, I can't wait to see the look on Mungo's face at Thanksgiving dinner!
11.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRES
Abu Dhabi --

Tom Watson was greater and/or had more impact than Hogan, Snead and Player?
11.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRES
I don't know if Billy Park Bell or Billy Francis Bell will make it as father/son...but surely, Geoff, while your 11/15 AMac quote is certainly valid, it is tongue-in-cheek, as your own William Park [Bell] helped shape (by mechanical means) a fairly bland Santa Monica canyon into a Riviera that did not look very artificial. Didn't the good doctor bless the course during a visit?
11.15.2012 | Unregistered CommenterUbb
@RES - They are all in my Real Hall of Fame which is the important thing - sorting them out got down to splitting hairs and you could make a compelling case that Hogan, Player should be ranked higher than Watson.

The list was done in sequential order to show who comfortably made it and those who just barely made it and then the bubble boys who just missed out.

@Hilltop - John Ball is a very interesting suggestion. However, he is significantly overshadowed by too many of his contemporaries. He is kind of like Billy Casper in that regard.
11.16.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAbu Dhabi Golfer
He also designed Olympia Fields North, which ain't too shabby.
11.16.2012 | Unregistered Commentertlavin

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