Ian Woosnam says he had achieved enough in golf to be considered a Hall of Fame candidate 10 years before he was told he would be joining the game’s greats.
His absence has been a source of frustration, with the Welshman tweeting two years ago to reveal how disillusioned he felt with the sport after being left off the list of inductees, and again expressed his disappointment earlier this year.
It was announced Wednesday that Woosnam would take his place in the World Golf Hall of Fame next year, along with Davis Love III, the late BBC commentator Henry Longhurst, Meg Mallon, who won 18 times on the LPGA Tour, including four majors, and former women’s world No.1 Lorena Ochoa.
In welcoming his prestigious place on a list of players including Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Bernhard Langer and Ernie Els, the former world No. 1 was asked on a conference call this week if he felt there had been a HOF moment in his career.
“You have to look at it as one big whole,” the 58-year-old said. “You don’t really think about it until you get a little bit older and you see the people going into the hall of fame. If anything, for me, the 2006 Ryder Cup achieved pretty well everything.
“Being the captain of the Ryder Cup is just the icing on the cake. That, for me, was the beginning of having a chance to get into the hall of fame.”
Woosnam played in eight of the biennial contests, including that impressive 18½-9½ victory for Europe against the U.S. at The K Club, twice topped the European Tour order of merit and won the Masters in 1991. He now plays in seniors events and will be officially inducted next September in New York.
“You dream of things like this,” he said, before suggesting he might put contribute a Welsh rugby shirt to the World Golf Hall of Fame. “I’ve done pretty well, I think, and to have this is just icing on the cake. I’m really looking forward to New York and next September.”