Els heads world golf hall class

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 11:42 AM ET

ATLANTA -- Ernie Els, Doug Ford, the late Jock Hutchison and former President George H. W. Bush were named Wednesday as the newest members of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Els, in his first year eligible, was elected on the PGA Tour ballot with 66% of the vote. The native of South Africa is the owner of 18 PGA Tour victories, including the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and the The Open Championship in 2002.

"I was shocked and extremely honoured when the call came through from Commissioner (Tim) Finchem to say that I was to be inducted into the Hall of Fame," said Els, who is competing in this week's playoffs for the FedExCup finale. "I would like to thank all those who have helped make this possible, not least my family whose support has never wavered. There are too many others to mention by name, but they know who they are and can be assured of my eternal gratitude."

Ford and Hutchison were selected in the Veterans Category.

The West Haven, Conn.,-born Ford was the winner of the 1995 PGA Championship and 1957 Masters Tournament, along with 17 other PGA Tour victories.

"It is an honour and a privilege to be named to the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum," said Ford, the 1955 PGA Player of the Year. "It took a little while, but I think it's great they're doing this while I'm still alive. It is an honour of which I am deeply proud."

Hutchison, from St. Andrews, Scotland, won 14 Tour events, including the 1920 PGA Championship and 1921 Open Championship. He also took the inaugural Senior PGA Championship in 1937.

President Bush served as honorary chairman of The Presidents Cup in 1996, and is also an honorary member of the PGA, an honorary chair of the USGA Museum and Archives President's council and has served as honorary chairman of The First Tee since 1997. He was also a recipient of the 2009 PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award.

"I am deeply honoured to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame," President Bush said. "I would like to thank PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors for everything they do to support the traditions of golf. I wish everyone gathered here today all the best."

The foursome, along with a fifth member to be announced in October, will be enshrined on May 9, 2011 at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla.


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