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Bolt joins World Golf Hall of Fame

Nov. 15, 2002 at 9:17 PM   |   Comments

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Tommy Bolt highlighted the World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony Friday, telling tales of his infamous temper and receiving praise for his golf game.

Bolt entered the Hall of Fame at the World Golf Village with Bernhard Langer, Tony Jacklin, Marlene Haage, the late Hervey Penick and Ben Crenshaw during a night filled with roasts and video tributes.

Following a taped message from President Bush, Peter Kessler of The Golf Channel introduced Bolt, who "was born to play golf and get mad."

Bolt won 15 times during his PGA Tour career, one that likely will be remembered more for what he did to the course than on it. His temper is legendary, hence the nickname "Terrible" Tommy.

Now 86, Bolt recalled some of his best - or worst - moments.

One year at Pebble Beach, he had 135 yards left to the 16th green and asked his caddie for a 7-iron. His caddie responded, "Mr. Bolt, it's either a 3-iron or 3-wood, that's the only clubs you've got left."

In 1957, the PGA Tour institued a rule that prevented players from hitting more than one ball to the green during a practice round. In Greensboro, Bolt reached into his pocket for a second ball when he heard, "Hey, Tommy, that will cost you $25."

"I handed him $100 and hit four more," Bolt said.

Bolt's antics often were embarrassing, but his golf game wasn't. Among his 15 titles was a wire-to-wire victory in the 1958 U.S. Open at Southern Hills. He also finished second 11 times and played in a pair of Ryder Cups.

"He was one of the finest shot-makers I have ever seen," Arnold Palmer said in a video tribute.

No one has had more game over a longer period of time than Langer, the greatest player ever to come out of Germany. Langer, 45, has won nearly 50 titles worldwide. His first came when he was 17. His last came last week.

Known for his battle with the putting yips, Langer was the first No. 1 player when the world rankings were implemented in 1986. He is the only player to be in the top 50 of the original and current rankings.

Along the way, Langer has played in 10 Ryder Cups - one off Nick Faldo's record - and won two Masters titles. He called his first victory at Augusta National "a dream come true."

Langer was one of two Europeans inducted Friday, joining Jacklin, a British hero who remains the last player from the continent to win the U.S. Open. He was the first to hold the British Open (1969) and U.S. Open (1970) crowns simultaneously.

At Hazeltine Golf Club in 1970, Jacklin became the first European in more than 70 years to win the U.S. Open, posting a seven-stroke victory over Dave Hill.

The 58-year-old won 27 events worldwide. But the Ryder Cup is Jacklin's legacy. In 1985, he brought the Cup back to the continent after a 28-year absence. Two years later, he captained the team that won on American soil for the first time.

Haage was one of the LPGA Tour's 13 co-founders in 1950 when she was just 16. After turning pro a year earlier, Haage won 26 times from 1952-72.

Penick, who died in 1995, tought golf in his unique style for 82 years.

PGA of America president M.G. Orender called Penick "America's gift to golf." Golf writer Dan Jenkins said he was "one of those guys you can't say anything bad about."

Among his students were Crenshaw, Tom Kite, Mickey Wright and Kathy Whitworth. Penick was known for simplifying the complex game. "Harvey Penick's Little Red Book" remains one of the best-selling sports books in history.

A fellow native of Austin, Texas, Crenshaw remembers burying Penick. The funeral was during the week of his second Masters title in 1995.

With an adept putter in his hands, "Gentle Ben" won 19 times on the PGA Tour. He also played on four Ryder Cup teams and captained the U.S. to a dramatic triumph over Europe at the 1999 event.

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