Els, President Bush inducted into World Golf Hall of Fame

Ernie Els reacts after sinking his chip shot on the ninth hole during final round play for the...

Ernie Els reacts after sinking his chip shot on the ninth hole during final round play for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at the Bay Hill Club in Orlando, Fla., March 28, 2010. (HANS DERYK/Reuters)

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, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - Ernie Els and former President George H.W. Bush were among those inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame on Monday.

Former CBS executive producer, the late Frank Chirkinian, two-time major winners Doug Ford and Jock Hutchinson and Japanese star Jumbo Ozaki joined Els and Bush in the Class of 2011.

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

Els, 41, has 67 worldwide wins and was ranked No. 1 in the world for nine weeks. He also lost a playoff for the 2004 British Open title and is currently ranked 16th in the world.

"I'm really honored, thank you very much to the World Golf Hall of Fame," Els said of the honor. "I really appreciate it from my heart."

The former President Bush, 86, served as honorary chairman of The Presidents Cup in 1996 and has been to every Cup since, 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.

Bush was also a recipient of the 1997 PGA of America Distinguished Service Award, the 2008 Bob Jones Award give by the USGA and the 2009 PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award.

Chirkinian is considered an innovator in golf broadcasts thanks to things like using on-course reporters, blimp cameras and putting microphones throughout the course.

Chirkinian, nicknamed "the Ayatollah," was the first to list a players' scores in relation to par rather than total number of strokes.

The 84-year-old found out about his induction this year during the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and passed away three weeks later after a battle with lung cancer.

Before he died, Chirkinian taped an acceptance speech, which was played at Monday's ceremony.

"I must admit that I have been known to be speechless now and again, but that's a rare thing to have happen," Chirkinian said in the video. "But tonight I am speechless."

Chirkinian said he was "humbled" by the honor, which wouldn't have been possible without his talented CBS colleagues.

"Looking back at a career that spanned 40 years, I'm amazed at how quickly those years have passed, a lot faster than I hoped they would," Chirkinian said. "I realized golf is more than just a game. It's a way of life."

Later in the ceremony, the Hall of Fame honored another golf great who died this year, Seve Ballesteros, who passed away early Saturday following a lengthy battle with brain cancer. He was 54 years old.

Ballesteros, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999, possessed unique charisma and shot-making ability, qualities on display in a tribute video played Monday.

His 20-year career included 50 wins on the European Tour and nine victories on the PGA Tour. He won the British Open three times and the Masters twice.

Ford won 19 PGA Tour titles, including the 1955 PGA Championship and the 1957 Masters. He played on four United States Ryder Cup teams and was PGA Player of the Year the year he won the PGA.

Hutchinson was born in St. Andrews, Scotland and became an American citizen in 1920 when he was 36 years old. He became the first American citizen and first non United Kingdom based winner of the Open Championship in 1921.

Hutchinson captured the 1920 PGA Championship and picked up 14 PGA Tour titles. He also won two Senior PGA Championships, including the inaugural one in 1937.

Hutchinson passed away in 1977 at the age of 93.

Ozaki, whose real name is Masashi, won 94 times on the Japan Tour, which is 40 more than the next closest competitor. He led that circuit's money list 12 times and his last victory came in 2002.

Ozaki, 64, still plays some on the Japan Tour and despite rarely playing outside his homeland, he was ranked in the top 10 in the world rankings for almost 200 weeks.


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