GLENVIEW, Ill. – The 16th class for the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame, the highest honor for the sport in the state, will come from among 25 distinguished candidates spanning the earliest days of the game in Illinois to the present day.
The nominees for this year’s class include major champions and architects, professionals and amateurs, course owners and writers, and even an influential fan.
Who among this year’s 25 nominees will join the 79 previous inductees will be determined on Selection Night, Wednesday, May 13, when the 19 members of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee will hear presentations from and question presenters for the 10 finalists.
Immediately after the vote, the new members of the Hall will be notified and the results will be announced. Those 10 finalists will be selected from the 25 nominees in first-stage deliberations by the Selection Committee on Wednesday, April 1.
Here are thumbnail profiles of the 25 nominees for the Class of 2015:
- Benjamin Armstrong: winner of two state majors in the 1930s; U.S. Amateur semifinalist.
- Robert Berns: graphic arts expert for Wilson and Ram, among others.
- Louis M. Brown Sr.: supporter of the Illinois PGA Foundation’s scholarship fund.
- H. Chandler Egan: twice winner of the U.S. Amateur, four-time Western Amateur winner.
- Emil Esposito: winner of three state majors, longtime professional at Kemper Lakes.
- Harold Foreman Jr.: three-time Illinois Amateur winner, longtime WGA board member.
- Gary Hallberg: three-time PGA Tour champ following stellar amateur career including 1979 NCAA title.
- Richie Hammel: one of the founders of the Illinois PGA’s Central Illinois chapter.
- David Huske: winner of two state majors; dominated junior golf; longtime rules official.
- Drue Johnson: won WAC title at Arizona; semifinalist in 1969 Western Amateur.
- Phil Kosin: writer founded Chicagoland Golf, conductor of radio show, founded golf charity.
- William Langford: golf architect (Lawsonia, Butterfield, Wakonda), ASGCA co-founder.
- Leon McNair: longtime Fox Bend professional; deeply involved in charity (First Tee, Wadsworth).
- Tim Miles Sr.: longtime course operator and constructor; GolfVisions runs 18 courses.
- Tull Monsees: low amateur in 1965 Illinois Open; tough to beat on club scene.
- Bruce Patterson: twice IPGA professional of year; IPGA teacher of year in 2001; Master Professional.
- Francis Peabody: philanthropist from Hinsdale GC whose prodding led to formation of CDGA.
- Earl Puckett: taught Gary Hallberg, David Ogrin, Sandra Palmer; edited golf books for Palmer, Casper.
- Harry Radix: top fan created Tour’s player of year award; underwrote Radix Cup after friends started it.
- Jerry Rich: designed Rich Harvest Farms; hosted Solheim; created Intl. Crown, backs Kids Golf Found.
- Horton Smith: 28-time tour winner including first, third Masters, led PGA of America 1952-54.
- Jim Sobb: eight-time state major winner, 13-5-4 in 22 Radix Cup starts; twice IPGA pro of year.
- George Victor: won local titles from 1930s to 1960s; runner-up in 1940 Western Amateur.
- Roger Warren: schoolteacher-turned-professional ran Seven Bridges, led PGA of America 2004-06
- Len Ziehm: writer covered golf for Sun-Times, now for Daily Herald; expert on local scene.