| Price says he has to pinch himself to believe it
St Augustine: Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam, Zimbabwe’s Nick Price and Japan’s Hisako Higuchi were inducted into the world golf Hall of Fame.
Sorenstam, 33, completed a career Grand Slam this year and became the first woman in 58 years to play in a PGA Tour event. The 47-time LPGA winner was the first woman in the history of the ladies’ tour to shoot a 59, doing so in 2001. “How lucky can I be'” Sorenstam said. “I’m living a great life and living my dreams.”
Three-time major champion Price, 46, has 41 triumphs world-wide. He was the PGA Player of the Year in 1993 and 1994 and won the 1994 British Open as well as the 1992 and 1994 PGA Championship.
“I still to this day have to pinch myself to see if I wake up,” Price said. “I am indeed very, very fortunate. I was blessed with the talent to do something that I love and enjoy and also make it my profession.”
Higuchi, who has 72 titles world-wide, is the only Japanese player to have won a major title, taking the 1977 LPGA championship. “Chako”, the LPGA’s first international player, is the first Japanese player in the Hall of Fame.
“This is my greatest honour,” said Higuchi, who founded the Japanese LPGA tour and has served as its commissioner for seven years. “Love and passion for golf in my life is as precious as my family and friends.”
Also inducted into the Hall of Fame was the late Leo Diegel, who died of cancer in 1951 at age 52. The four-time US Ryder Cup player was among the first to earn a living at golf. He won the 1928 and 1929 PGA Championships.
The 31-time PGA winner, known for an elbows-out putting style, was a pioneer who tested such legends as Walter Hagen. “How good was he'” asked PGA of America president M.G. Orender. “In matches against Hagen, Leo insisted on giving one stroke a side.”
Sorenstam, the second-youngest to the elite group, played at the PGA Colonial in May, missing the cut but winning the respect of golfers everywhere. “I do consider it the best learning experience I’ve ever had,” she said.
Sorenstam has silenced critics, including Price, and spawned imitators such as teen prodigy Michelle Wie on developmental tours and Australian Jan Stephenson on the over-50 tour.
Price spoke with passion for his love of the sport from his pre-teen days.
“From the first day I picked up a club while caddying for my brother Tim, I’ve been in awe of this game,” Price said. “I’m still spellbound by the way it continues to tease and entice me back trying to perfect the imperfectable.