Four-time LPGA major winner announced at CME Group Titleholders
Orlando (Nov. 17, 2011) - The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum will enshrine four-time LPGA major winner Hollis Stacy as part of its Class of 2012. The announcement that Stacy was selected through the Veterans Category was made at the LPGA's CME Group Titleholders event.
Stacy will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at its Induction Ceremony on May 7, 2012 at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla. The Ceremony is held on the Monday of THE PLAYERS Championship week.
The announcement was made by World Golf Hall of Fame Chief Operating Officer Jack Peter and LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan.
"On behalf of the LPGA, I would like to congratulate Hollis Stacy on this well-deserved honor," Whan said. "Hollis was always known as an extremely competitive player with an impeccable short game and one of the most creative golf minds of her time. More importantly, she will long be remembered as a truly nice person with a passion for golf and life. She is an ambassador for women's golf and we could not be more proud of her."
Stacy's career was defined by her successes in USGA events. She charged onto the golf scene by winning consecutive U.S. Girls' Junior Championship titles from 1969-71 and remains the only player ever to win that event three times. As a professional, she won U.S. Women's Open championships in 1977, 1978 and 1984. Stacy's fourth major title came in 1983, when she won the Peter Jackson Classic (later named the du Maurier Classic).
During her 26-year LPGA career, Stacy rang up 18 victories. In one stretch from 1977 to 1983, she registered 82 top-10 finishes.
"When Mike Whan called me and said that Jack Peter was on the other line, I thought, 'Uh oh!' I was speechless. I totally did not expect it," Stacy said. "I'm just overwhelmed. I am humbled and so excited. It's such a great honor to be in the same group with friends like JoAnne Carner, Nancy Lopez, Patty Sheehan, Betsy King and Mickey Wright."
Stacy will join Phil Mickelson, who was announced on Nov. 10, in the Class of 2012. The Hall of Fame will round out the Class of 2012 by announcing the inductees from the International Ballot and Lifetime Achievement categories in the coming weeks.
"It is a pleasure to welcome Hollis Stacy into the World Golf Hall of Fame," said Hall of Fame Chief Operating Officer Jack Peter. "She is an outstanding addition to the Class of 2012 and we're looking forward to celebrating her stallar career at the Induction Ceremony in May."
For information about the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum, or the 2011 Induction Ceremony, visit www.WorldGolfHallofFame.org.
TRAVIS HILL: I just wanted to welcome everyone. My name is Travis Hill. I'm with the World Golf Hall of Fame museum, here today with Jack Peter, chief operating officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame and LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan.
MIKE WHAN: Thanks, everybody, for joining us. As you can probably imagine, this is going to be a World Golf Hall of Fame related announcement, and I'm a proud member of the board of the World Golf Hall of Fame. I'm a proud friend to Jack Peter. I'm excited to be here because obviously when the World Golf Hall of Fame and the LPGA collide, that's pretty good news for me and pretty good news for young professional women around the world.
I'm excited to be here. I'm excited I'm going to represent everyone at the LPGA current, past and present, and I'm excited about the announcement, and Jack, I'll leave that to you.
JACK PETER: Thank you, Mike. Thanks, everybody in the room, for being with us today. Thanks to those of you that are on the phone with us. I also want to give a special shout‑out to Chris Garrett and the group here at the CME Titleholders Championship. We wish you all a great week, and thank you for hosting the World Golf Hall of Fame for this announcement.
Many of you have heard me say over and over what the mission of the Hall of Fame is, and that's simply to recognize and celebrate the greatest players and contributors of the game. We're here today to announce the second member of the class of 2012, who's one of the true greats of the LPGA.
Before I make the announcement, I just want to spend a minute to talk about the five avenues into the Hall of Fame. We had an announcement last week. The PGA TOUR ballot was announced last week; Phil Mickelson was elected on the PGA TOUR ballot. That is one avenue into the Hall of Fame. The Second avenue is similar. It's an international ballot, and that result will be announced later this fall. The LPGA has a points‑based system which many of you are familiar with. And then there are two discretionary categories that are selected by the board of directors called the lifetime achievement category, which is primarily designed for contributors to the game whose contributions have come outside of the playing arena. And the last avenue into the Hall of Fame is the veterans category, and that what we are here to announce today. That category, we created that category in the year 2000 shortly after we opened to make sure that the Hall of Fame had a way to recognize great players from yesteryear, if you will, who may for one reason or another have not been inducted into the Hall of Fame. We wanted to make sure that the cream was rising to the top and that we recognized greatness across the board.
So the person I'm going to announce today, we knew she was destined for greatness when she won three consecutive U.S. Girls Championships. She went on to the LPGA to win 18 times, including four majors. Of those, three were U.S. Open wins. She remains today one of only four women to have won our national championship three times. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the newest member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, Hollis Stacy.
Before we hear from you, I'd like to throw it back to Commissioner Whan to see if he's got some comments for you. Mike?
MIKE WHAN: Sure. In my first two years as commissioner there's two phone calls I remember making. In both cases I felt like I had very little to do with the outcome but was incredibly blessed to be able to present the outcome. I remember a couple years ago calling Rosie Jones and telling her she was the captain for the Solheim Cup for 2011. I'll never forget the phone call, and I'll never forget when Jack and I talked and he said, who's going to call Hollis, Mike, do you want to do it, and I said absolutely, and I'll never forget the phone call we had. Luckily you didn't drive off the road when I told you, but I was excited to tell you.
The one thing I would say, and I know Jack and you and certainly all the media in the room and around the world that's listening, they've captured what you've done between the ropes because I think what you've done between the ropes is why you're entering the World Golf Hall of Fame, but what I think a lot of people don't understand is you and I have probably talked once a month since I've taken this job, and they don't understand that we've talked about growing the LPGA, growing the game, you're working on tournaments for us, sponsors for us.
When I was 29 I made a decision to work only with passionate and persistent people. That's been a philosophy of mine, and I've never met a more passionate or persistent person and know that's probably what made you great inside the ropes, but I missed that as commissioner, but I still get to see it and live it and be part of it afterwards.
I just want to say on behalf of the LPGA thanks for what you did then, but most years later. It really makes a difference to the game.
HOLLIS STACY: Thank you, Mike.
It was very funny when ‑‑ Mike was very clever about this phone call. He goes, "Well, we have to get this story about the Titleholders," so I did a little research on the Titleholders. Oh, there's a little controversy and everything. We had a conference call at 10:45.
I live west of Bradenton, so I rushed out of the house. I said, I've got to leave because I've got this call. So I'm driving, 10:45, over the skyway bridge, which as you know ‑‑ I don't know if you've been over the skyway bridge, but it will scare the heck out of you. So I'm over it, and I have no service. 10:45, and I went, oh, no. So then I pull over, and still no service.
So then I said, well, I'd better go find some service because I have a very bad carrier. So I'm racing down 275 and trying to find the bars. Mind you, I have no driver's license because I had that stolen driving out here.
MIKE WHAN: Let's leave that out of the story if we could.
HOLLIS STACY: But anyway, it's in the mail.
Anyway, so I get the phone call, and I had my business cap on. So not only am I going to talk about the Titleholders and one cute story when I was 11 years old, but I need to sneak something in, what I'm working on right now, because I've got two things I'm working on that he's got to hear.
So I had my business cap on, and then the call goes through, and then Mike goes, "And Jack Peter is on the other line." I went, oh, no, is this the call? And so my whole mind went blank. Jack was talking, but I really don't know what he said, and just the fact that I was in the Hall of Fame. I think I may have said two words the entire conversation, and they were, "I'm shocked" ‑‑ three words: "I'm shocked, I'm overwhelmed, and I'm so honored." So to be a part of the Hall of Fame is a dream come true, and I accept it for myself and for my family. It's just a wonderful honor, and it will be a very important day in my family's life and my city of Savannah and state of Georgia, so I'm going to make that an important thing.
But I do thank you for helping me, whatever you did, and Mike for pulling for me. Thanks a lot.
TRAVIS HILL: Now we can open it up to questions in the room.
Q. I'm curious what your projects are that you're working on right now.
HOLLIS STACY: Well, I'm working on getting an LPGA event in Savannah 2013.
MIKE WHAN: Or '12 ‑‑ just kidding.
HOLLIS STACY: Maybe '12, but probably '13. And I'm talking to some groups, and I don't know if you know this, but the Panama Canal is widening. It's a $7 billion project, and my hometown, which has suffered greatly in the recession, is the third busiest port in the United States, and it's the largest container ship. 70 percent of all the ships that go through the Panama Canal embark in the Savannah terminal. So with that and with the vast global exposure the LPGA offers, in particular Asia, I'm hoping to have a wonderful relationship built in Savannah. So I've been working on it, and I think that it's not far fetched.
My family has been in the port, working in the port since the 1840s, and my father's family has been involved with politics of Georgia since pre‑Civil War. We've been involved with the buildup of our country, so I have a very strong connection in the city, and I have a lot of siblings, so we can get the job done. Thanks for asking.
Q. When you get an honor like this it probably makes you reflect on your roots in the game. You were Wonder Girl really back in the late '60s. Can you talk about those early years and your love for the game that obviously started quite young?
HOLLIS STACY: My love of the game ‑‑ in fact, I'm glad you said that about my passion for what I do now, but I can honestly say that what I do now, it feels like how I was when I was a little girl playing in Savannah and playing, and there were never enough hours in the day or holes on the golf course. I just loved the game so much, and I grew up with my brothers playing the game of golf and my brothers' friends. There were no girls playing in Georgia, but it wasn't until I was 15 I met one of my closest friends who asked me to be an LPGA official, Suzanne Jackson, was one of the only Georgia girls, and as you know, we lost Suzanne to breast cancer in I think '99.
But my love of the game was fantastic. You know, my parents loved to play, and my father ‑‑ actually I think he played too much, but he gave us our love for the game. I was lucky. I was just very lucky.
Q. What made you so good at all these national championships? Three Junior Girls, three U.S. Opens? The USGA must have been giving you pretty much every trophy they had back in the day.
HOLLIS STACY: You know what's funny, and Amy will probably answer this the same, but when we were growing up, there were five tournaments, so ‑‑ and what was unique is all of us, Pat Bradley, Nancy Lopez, Laura Baugh, all of us, we really worked hard because we really enjoyed seeing each other at the U.S. Juniors because since there were only five tournaments and the U.S. Junior Girls was like the U.S. Open, I think it was because we loved seeing girls like us at these tournaments, and I was just lucky.
I think growing up with small greens and growing up with Bermuda was a big advantage because my short game and my chipping and everything ended up being very good. I had to be. The greens were so small where I grew up. I missed them all.
Q. Given your record but you hadn't qualified in points for the LPGA Hall of Fame, what was it like not to be in the Hall and waiting to see if you would ever make it?
HOLLIS STACY: I don't know, it was ‑‑ and that's why I was so shocked. I was so shocked when the call came because I never thought that my mom would live to see me get in because of the politics of being in the Hall, of being elected to the Hall.
But I think there's been kind of a ‑‑ I know you went over it earlier. There's been a ‑‑ I got in the veterans category of the World Golf Hall of Fame, so it was one of five categories.
How did I feel? You know, it was ‑‑ I had conditioned myself not to think about it because I think it did bug me a little bit. It did bug me because I had won four majors, and I considered them four hotels, like Monopoly. Four hotels, and each hotel is four houses, so that's how I thought of it.
Anyway, but I was so shocked and overwhelmed when I got the call. It was quite exciting to say the least.
Q. I can't remember the language, but I think the veterans category has something like awarded to players who impacted their era or something like that. Do you feel like you impacted your era?
HOLLIS STACY: I think I did. I think I impacted it. I don't know how, but I think my reputation for being competitive and maybe having fun, enjoying golf, although I have to tell you, there's no smiling on that golf course when you're making bogeys. But I tried to make light of it. I really enjoyed myself on the Tour. I do miss my friends a lot. It was ‑‑ that was the best part, going back to the days of when I was a junior, just hanging out with my buds who shared the same passion of golf. I don't know, how do you think I impacted the game? I won my majors. I have my hotels.
Q. How tough was it to walk around Innisbrook last week and not be able to tell anybody, or did you tell somebody?
HOLLIS STACY: I have to tell you, that is a very good question. I found out Thursday, and I told one person, and that was Sherri Steinhauer because we're always in the locker room together, and we're very good friends. She kind of looked at me ‑‑ I said, "Oh, God, I have to tell you something," and she looked at me like, "Oh, God, what happened?" She had this face of what awful thing is happening because I was pretty emotional. I said, "I got a phone call today that said I was in the Hall of Fame." And she was like (draws breath in), she was shocked. It's like when I was walking over I saw Dawn‑Coe Jones and Gail Graham. "What you doing here?" "Oh, nothing, nothing, just a few little stuff." In fact, I just saw Mary Bryan walk out, and she goes, "What are you doing here?" "Oh, nothing." She just walked out. "I love what you're doing, keep at it."
I would like to mention ‑‑ I know you're busy, but I am working on building a platform for women's golf and a platform which would aggregate all of women's golf. I've been working with some really smart guys who had the same passion as myself that the women's golf market is grossly underserved. So I'm working on that with a heavy social media portion. You'll be hearing about it.
Q. You've had a lot of big moments in your career, but in your mind, your highlights, your favorite moments that you think back on?
HOLLIS STACY: Yeah, my favorite moments, probably my first LPGA victory was at Brookfield West, which was a very, very hilly golf course, and my father came to watch me, and my father was ‑‑ had been injured severely in World War II, and he led Patton's third army. He was in the 26th Heavy Artillery Infantry.
So he was shot in the hip in some horrible fighting December 10, 11, in '44. So he had this grossly huge knee. It was the size of a ham. And he walked the back nine to watch me play.
And so I saw him on like one hole, and I was like, oh, my goodness, he's walking the back nine. Well, I birdied six of the last seven holes, and I won my first tournament, and that was probably the most special moment in my golfing career. I mean, I've won ‑‑ the first time I broke 90, I carried that time around, 43‑43. I was so excited. My first Open victory was exciting. My 62 I shot, that was exciting.
But my dad following, watching my first victory was great, and then breaking 90 for the first time.
Q. When was that? When did you break 90 for the first time?
HOLLIS STACY: I was 12. I was 12. So I've improved a lot. Although, you know, 12, you have Lexi Thompson, I mean, she's shooting 66.
Q. How do you spell your mother's name and your dad's name?
HOLLIS STACY: M‑a‑t‑i‑l‑d‑a and Jack.
Q. How many kids in your family?
HOLLIS STACY: There are 10 of us. I was talking to Brody about tickets. I was like, now, how many tickets do we have? We lost John in 2001, so there are nine of us living right now.
JACK PETER: That fills a table.
HOLLIS STACY: Oh, we fill five tables.
JACK PETER: That's one thing we have at the Hall of Fame is space.
Q. What will you put in your locker at the World Golf Hall of Fame?
HOLLIS STACY: Oh, I didn't even know I got a locker. I'm sure I'll lose the key, so keep an extra. I don't know what I'll keep there, but I'm sure I'll have my mom put something in there.
Q. Who's going to do your induction speech?
HOLLIS STACY: Oh, very good. My sister Martha is going to do the induction, and I asked her to do it after I found out. She won the Mid‑Am, and she goes, "Hollis, don't you want someone else to do it?" And I said, "Martha, there's only one person I would even consider doing it, so you've got it."
JACK PETER: Does she have a big family, too?
HOLLIS STACY: No, she does not, but she's very good. She's very good.
Q. Older or younger?
HOLLIS STACY: She's younger, Martha Lee. She won the Mid‑Am two years ago.
MIKE WHAN: One thing I'll say about a call, too, is you can always tell something about somebody when they're in that moment. And we finished, Jack and I, and I remember saying to Hollis, "Is this the greatest morning of your life?" And she said, "This is going to be so great for my family and my hometown," which I thought was an interesting ‑‑ I don't know what any of us would say in the moment, but she was thinking about her family and her hometown, which I think is a pretty telling statement about the person, the player we're talking about.
TRAVIS HILL: Thank you very much, everyone, and we'll see you in May at the induction ceremony.