World Golf Hall of Fame class of 2019 includes many different journeys

Induction ceremony will take place at Pebble Beach before U.S. Open


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The four living members of the World Golf Hall of Fame class of 2019 all took different paths to immortality.

South African Retief Goosen won two U.S Opens and finished in the top six in the other three majors in his career.

Jan Stephenson won the LPGA rookie of the year before winning three majors.

Billy Payne led Augusta National for 11 years and was instrumental in the Atlanta Olympics.

Dennis Walters overcame paralysis from a golf cart accident at the age of 24 to become one of the most inspirational trick-shot artists in the world.

SEE THE INTERVIEWS: Jan Stephenson | Billy Payne | Dennis Walters | Retief Goosen

All of them will have their likenesses bronzed in the World Golf Hall of Fame and their lockers of memorabilia installed for the public to enjoy.

While Goosen said he "kind of expected" the call to the Hall, the other three were a bit surprised.

"I got a phone call from Jack Peter, immediately after that 'Hi, this is Jack Nicklaus,' immediately after that, 'Hi, Dennis, this is Gary Player.' I thought this has to be good news," Walters said. "They're not going to call me up and say nice try. They all said in unison 'Congratulations.' It doesn't get any better than that."

Each member of the class knew they were finalists, but had to wait on the call for the Hall of Fame.

"I was thrilled. 'Do you have the wrong number?'," Payne said. "I was honored."

For Stephenson, the confirmation started the same way previous rejections had begun.

"Nancy Lopez called me, but she had called me in the past to tell me I hadn't gotten in when I was in the final 10 and the final 15," Stephenson said. "So when I saw her name come up on the phone, I'm like, 'She's calling to tell me I didn't get in again.' She said, "You've done a lot for the game and you've worked really hard and then she said, 'But this time you've been recognized for that.' I said "What? I was crying so much I couldn't hear it.'"

The fifth member of the class, Peggy Kirk Bell dies in 2016 at the age of 95.

The induction ceremony will be held June 10 at Pebble Beach before the U.S. Open.

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