World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Speech
Eligible June 9, 2005 – Induction November 14, 2005
Introduce by Ty Votaw, Commissioner LPGA 1999-2005
Wow!! It’s just so unbelievable to be here tonight, Thank you Ty. Thank you so much for introducing me and thank you for your very kind words.
Golf has been apart of my life for as long as I can remember. It has been a huge part of shaping me into the person I am today.
My first memory of golf is when as a four year old my grandparents, Mick and Joyce Collinson would pick me up at 7 am on Sunday mornings to take me out and play nine holes with them. I had my little set of plastic clubs and off we’d go. I look back at that now and think that my grandparents had to be the most patient people in the world! Even back then I was very competitive. I had to finish a hole that I started even if it was taking us half an hour to play! Of course at four I couldn’t walk the entire nine holes so I would sit on the back of my grandad’s golf bag and he would pull me and his clubs around the rest of the way. Finally one Sunday I got so frustrated when the head off my plastic club again flew off and went further than the ball, that I had had enough. That day I remember my grandma telling me that for my eighth birthday that they would get me a real set of clubs! Sure enough on the morning of my eighth birthday, my grandparents came over with the clubs and my parents had the bag and buggy for me.
It seems such a huge jump from that memory to be standing in front of you tonight. To some coming from the Sugar Cane town of Ayr in rural Australia to play in golf amongst the worlds best women may have seem like a pie in the sky dream but it never phased me however, I’ve dreamt of being a professional golfer since I was 11 years old.
I feel very fortunate to be born with the talent to play this game but that wasn’t all it took to get me here night. It was the love and passion that I have for the game of golf and the determination to work as hard as I needed to, to fulfill my dream.
I remember the day when I boldly came home and told my parents I wanted to be a professional golfer. I had just been down to the Gold Coast to watch the 1986 Queensland Open. I had gotten to watch my hero, Greg Norman, play for the first time. Being able to watch him play in that tournament was all the inspiration I needed as a kid to hopefully some day follow in his footsteps. I feel very fortunate to have gotten to known Greg since that time. He has not only been an inspiration to me growing up, but has become a good friend and is always there to answer any questions or give any advice.
Since turning pro in 1994 the ride has been So Unbelievable! I have so many great stories and memories on and off the golf course. As for the good memories on the course it is so hard for me to single out any tournament in particular.
I will always cherish every tournament that I have won. From my first win, to my first win in Australia, to my first major win. My achievements on the golf course have way surpassed any expectations and even most of my wildest dreams.
I didn’t do this on my own however there are many important people in my life that I have to thank. Without their influence, I Know I would not be standing here tonight.
To my parents, Robert and Evelyn Webb, Thank you so very much. Firstly thank you for your unconditional love! Thank you for your support and willingness to do everything in your power to help make an 11 year old’s dream a reality. There aren’t enough words to express my appreciation for everything you have done.
To my sisters, Janelle and Katie, Thank you for being two of my best friends and always supporting me the way you have.
To my grandparents, Bob and Marion Webb and Mick and Joyce Collinson, To all of my family, Thank you for always being there for me and for you tremendous support. I couldn’t have done this without you.
I also couldn’t have done this without the support of some really great friends, especially those of you here in the states. You are my family away from home, thank you so much for your support.
I would also like to thank those of you who have traveled long distances to share this occasion with me. I really appreciate all of you being here.
The next person that I want to thank…and again thanks just doesn’t seem enough…is Kelvin Haller.
Kelvin has been in my life for as long as I can remember. He has been a good friend of our family for a very long time and is the initial reason why my parents first asked him to help me out. My relationship with Kelvin was very informal for the first few years. He would help me out when ever he saw me practicing on the range and in return I would caddy for him in all the big events at the club. As the years progressed and my desire to learn and take my game to the next level grew, Kelvin and I would spend more and more time practicing and playing together. I learned just as much from what he taught me on the range, as I did from just watching him play. We had such a special understanding of one another, that years later we have been able to communicate the intricacies of the golf game through conversation only. And Boy!! Have we had some conversations!! Some more heated than others…some a little louder others. But in the end we were both able to get our points across to get me to achieve what I wanted to.
Kelvin, I know you wish that you could be here tonight. I just want you to know that you have been such an inspiration to me in so many ways.
Over the last couple of years, Kelvin and I have had the help of Ian Triggs. Ian came along when I needed more of a constant set of eyes in the states. The three of us have been working well since then and I just want to thank Ian for all of his help and advice.
I have always set very high standards for myself and if I don’t live up to them, I can become easily frustrated. Having this mentality unfortunately often spills over into my expectations of the people around me. Certainly Kelvin and Ian are two that have been witness to this! There are two other guys that have probably bore the brunt of these expectations over the past 10 years. Evan Minster and Mike Paterson have been my two mainstay caddies during my career. Evan worked for me from 1996 till 2000 and Mikey has now work for me since 2001. They are both here tonight so I figure I couldn’t have been Too hard on them! They are two of my best friends and I couldn’t have achieved what I have if it weren’t for them being by my side throughout the years. Thanks guys for everything!
There are many women who have paved the way for me to be here tonight. Not only to be here but they have provided me, and many other women, a place to play professional golf.
To our founders of the LPGA tour, members of the LPGA Hall of Fame and all members past and present, thank you for the past 55 years. Thank you for your great play, hard work and dedication to making the LPGA what it is today.
A big thanks also goes to the staff of the LPGA. Thank you all for working so hard to provide us with the opportunities that we enjoy today.
I have had a lot of great sponsors over the span of my career. Tonight, I would especially like to thank Seiko/Epson and Srixon for their support over the last several years.
Although I have spent the majority of the past 10 years in the United States, I am ALWAYS going to be an Aussie at heart. I am proud to be an Australian, a Queenslander and to have grown up in Ayr.
Playing in Australia has always been a favorite part of my year. I have always loved playing in front of my home crowd and have always been given a tremendous amount of support from the fans.
I would like to thank the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour and Women’s Golf Australia for providing me with the opportunity to play at home.
To my four fellow inductees and there families….congratulations! I am honored to be entering the World Golf Hall of Fame with you. I especially would like to congratulate Ayako. I think Ayako is a very deserved addition to the World Golf Hall of Fame. Not many people can say that what they have achieved on the golf course has inspired their whole nation but in Ayako’s case, she has. Omedeto gazimas Ayako-san!
The beauty about golf is one day I love it, the next day I hate it!! But no matter how my day goes on the course, I get up and do it again. It is the constant challenge of working my way closer to perfection. Even though I know I will never get there.
Like I said earlier, it really is hard for me to believe that I am here tonight! I still feel like that little girl with big dreams from a small town called Ayr. It really wasn’t that long ago that as an eleven year old when I first saw Greg Norman play, that I came home and told my parents that I wanted to be a professional golfer. It wasn’t that long ago that I read about, watched play and idolized many of the very people who I am standing among tonight. So I think it will Always be a very surreal feeling to be held in the same esteem that I hold each and every member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.