Ernie Els leads six into World Golf Hall of FameST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - Ernie Els followed the trail of South African idol Gary Player by winning golf tournaments all over the world, a journey that took him all the way to the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Els, a three-time major champion and the ultimate global player of his generation, was among six people to be inducted Monday night at the World Golf Village.
The 41-year-old South African, known as “Big Easy’’ for his languid swing and soothing smile, won 62 times around the world, including the U.S. Open twice and a British Open at Muirfield.
“It’s been a long journey coming from South Africa,’’ Els said at the two-hour ceremony.
Even as he still pursues more majors, Els is heavily involved in research and finding a cure for autism. His 8-year-old son, Ben, is autistic, and the boy was escorted into the room as a video of Els’ career was being played, his eyes fixated on the screen. Els later spoke of the joy he feels having his son sit on the range with him as he hits balls.
“He’ll sit there and watch the ball take off in the blue sky,’’ Els said.
Els was elected on the PGA Tour ballot. Japanese icon Jumbo Ozaki, who won more than 100 tournaments, was voted into the Hall of Fame on the International ballot. Doug Ford and the late Jock Hutchison, both two-time major champions, were selected through the Veterans category. Former President George H.W. Bush and the late Frank Chirkinian, the television golf producer for CBS Sports, were selected through the Lifetime Achievement category.
Their induction brought membership in the Hall of Fame to 136.
Els and Ford were the only inductees at the ceremony. Ozaki has a back injury that makes it difficult to travel, and he felt he needed to be home with his family as Japan recovers from the earthquake and tsunami. Bush also was not able to attend. Chirkinian had a videotaped message that was made just days before he died.
한글 관련 기사 [연합]
'빅 이지' 엘스, 골프 명예의 전당 입회식
'빅 이지' 어니 엘스(남아공)가 9일(미국시간) 세계골프 명예의 전당에 이름을 올렸다고 AP통신이 보도했다.
지난해 9월 선정위원 투표에서 명예의 전당 회원으로 선정된 엘스는 이날 미국프로골프(PGA) 투어 플레이어스 챔피언십이 열리는 미국 플로리다주 폰테 베드라비치에서 입회식을 가졌다.
큰 체구지만 물 흐르듯 유연한 스윙으로 '빅 이지'라는 별명을 얻은 엘스는 1994년과 1997년 US오픈, 2002년 브리티시오픈 등 세 차례 메이저대회에서 우승하는 등 세계 각국의 투어에서 62승을 기록했다.
엘스는 "명예의 전당에 이름을 올리는다는 것은 너무나 특별하다"고 말했다.
엘스와 함께 일본의 골프 전설 점보 오자키, 두 차례 메이저대회 우승을 차지한 더그 포드와 故 조크 허치슨, 골프발전에 기여한 공로로 조지 H.W 부시 전 미국 대통령과 지난 3월에 숨진 전 CBS 스포츠 프로듀서 프랭크 처키니언도 명예의 전당 회원이 됐다.