Thursday, two-time LPGA Tour winner Gail Graham was announced as one of two inductees into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.
Graham said the announcement has been an emotional one for her, as she lost her father last April, commenting through tears that he was a huge influence in her life in golf. She was also a college roommate of the late Dawn Coe-Jones, a three-time winner on the LPGA Tour who passed away in 2016.
Graham, who captured LPGA Tour titles in 1995 and 1997 – along a Symetra Tour title in 1988 and a Legends Tour championship in 2016 – was named to the Manitoba Golf Hall of Fame in 2008 and the British Columbia Golf Hall of Fame in 2015.
Graham served for eight years on the LPGA Tour’s executive committee and was president of that committee from 2001-2002. She was the President of the LPGA Tournament Owners Association from 2007-2013 and has served on the board of the Legends Tour since 2016, being named as its president in 2018.
In 2002, she was voted by her fellow LPGA Tour members as the recipient of the William and Mousie Powell Award as a player whose behavior and deeds best exemplify the spirit, ideals and values of the LPGA.
She’s currently a part-time instructor and on-course reporter for the Golf Channel, where she sees first hand how much the LPGA Tour game has changed since she was playing.
Fellow Canadian Brooke Henderson told the LPGA Tour at Brittany Lincicome’s charity event in Tampa, Florida on Thursday that she was “really proud” to hear of Graham’s induction.
“I love Gail,” said Henderson, a five-time winner on the LPGA Tour. “She is a lot of fun and I see her at tournaments and I talk to her a lot, so, congratulations to her. That’s really amazing.”
Henderson is just one of the young superstars of the LPGA Tour that Graham sees week in and week out.
Graham said in the mid-90s her colleagues could begin to learn to compete once they got to the Tour. Now, most of the women already know how to play and win. She said the depth on the LPGA Tour now is unlike any she’s ever seen.
“You could shoot 74-74 and maybe even 75-75 and still make the cut, so you could learn to play. If you shoot those scores now you’re five or six shots from making the cut so you have to be game ready,” she said. “The depth of play makes it that much harder, there are that many more players who can play that much better.”
Graham also explained she was happy to see the LPGA Tour advance into a global tour.
“We see the influx of incredible players from all around the world and the LPGA Tour going to those countries to play. I’m obviously most thrilled about our Canadian contingent and watching Brooke take the LPGA Tour by storm and wishing I had only been 18 years old when I hit the LPGA Tour. But the LPGA is on a wonderful trajectory,” she said. “The play is incredible and the ball-striking, the distance, the short game, the putting… it’s such a phenomenal level of play that I don’t think the ladies get enough credit for it.”
Graham is the sixth LPGA Tour winner to be inducted into Canada’s Golf Hall of Fame along with Jocelyne Bourassa (who won the LPGA Tour’s Rookie of the Year honor in 1972), Lorie Kane (four LPGA Tour wins), Sandra Post (eight LPGA Tour wins, the most by a Canadian), Lisa Walters (three LPGA Tour wins) and Coe-Jones.
Graham will be inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame alongside the late Arthur Vernon Macan on July 24 at Glen Abbey Golf Club.