Jan Stephenson has become the seventh Australian to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in California.
Stephenson, a three-time major winner, joins Karrie Webb, David Graham, Peter Thomson, Greg Norman, Kel Nagle and Walter Travis.
She was inducted at a glittering ceremony today.
“Golf has taken me on a wonderful journey allowing me to travel around the world and make relationships that have lasted a lifetime, and now it has taken me here to the World Golf Hall of Fame,’’ she said. “It’s truly a dream come true. I’m so honoured to be among such wonderful champions of golf.”
The 67-year-old was a groundbreaker for the sport when she acted as the LPGA Tour’s face in the 1970s. But outside of the fame she drew as a sex symbol for the sport, she was a wonderful player, amassing 26 professional titles, 16 of which were won on the LPGA Tour. She also won the 1977 Women's Australian Open.
She had her brother and sister with her at the ceremony, and Webb, the only other Australian woman to be inducted, was in the audience as well.
Stephenson recalled her parents taking the family to their weekend home north of Sydney and learning the game at Tuggerah Lakes Golf Club as a girl. Her father worked night shift so that he could drive her to tournaments; her mother worked two jobs. “I fell in love with the sport right away,” she said.
She said she believed her era was “the most colourful and competitive” in LPGA Tour history. “To be now counted amongst those stars as a world golf hall of famer is not only an honour but it’s so humbling.”
Stephenson was inducted alongside South African Retief Goosen and Americans Peggy Kirk Bell, Billy Payne and Dennis Walters.
She lives in Tampa, Florida and owns a golf course.