“Thanks for not bringing up the whole World Golf Hall of Fame thing. You’re the first person that hasn’t asked and I want to thank you for that.” Those were the words of David Graham on The Lesson Tee Show just days before he was named to the 2015 induction class of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
When one thinks of top players from Australia, names like Greg Norman, Adam Scott and Steve Elkington seem to dominate the conversation. The name David Graham is almost never mentioned. Graham has been one of the most unheralded tour players in the game.
Graham’s life was and continues to be about golf. He dropped out of school at age 14 turning professional against the wishes of his father, a World War II veteran and angry man. Graham’s father said he would never speak to his son again were he to turn pro, and kept his word for 10 years. David’s father showed up at the 1970 U.S. Open unannounced walking up to his son on the practice range. By then David’s father was little more than a stranger. After the two had a conversation in the clubhouse Graham sent the man on his way. Years later his sister would write to tell David of his father’s death.
Graham gave himself to golf and was so relentless “He was very fastidious about his clubs, how they felt, the length, the swingweight,” says Bruce Devlin, a fellow competitor who remains a friend. “He and I would change a full set of irons in the motel room in the night. You get those tiny cigarette lighters — about half of one gets one head off, so five or six of them would get the whole set off.”
David Graham is one of just four players to have won on six continents during his career. The others? Gary Player, Hale Irwin and Bernhard Langer.
Graham’s 38 wins include the 1979 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills and 1981 United States Open at Merion. Ben Hogan told David that his final round 67 at Merion was one of the finest rounds of golf he’d ever seen. Graham participated on his native Australian teams that won the World Cup (1970) and the Alfred Dunhill Cup (1985 and 1986). Before the World Rankings, in 1981, he was ranked 7th on Mark McCormack’s world golf rankings.
There have been bumps along that are well chronicled. While he was known as having a sharp tongue it was, (in his opinion), always for the good of the game.
June 27th 2004 during a Champions Tour event. Graham, 58, collapsed while lining up a putt at the Bank of America Championship. It turned out his heart was pumping at only 12% of its normal volume. It was on that day David Graham’s playing career came to an end. Since that time David has continued his stewardship of the game he holds so close in spite of his ongoing heart issues. “Lee (Trevino), and I exercise and play 9 most every day. I’ve been very lucky,” Graham said during our chat on the Lesson Tee Show.
Speculation about his being snubbed from membership came to an end Monday when David Graham was formally inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame at St. Andrews College in Scotland ahead of this year’s Open Championship.
Congratulations David.WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?