Along with Els, 1957 Masters Tournament winner Doug Ford, the late Jock Hutchison and former President George H.W. Bush also were selected for induction into the facility in St. Augustine, Florida. A fifth inductee will be announced in October.
Els, who was on the PGA Tour Ballot for the first time, received 66 percent of the vote. The 40-year-old South African won 1994 and 1997 U.S. Open titles and the 2002 British Open championship, and has 59 other worldwide victories.
A PGA Tour player must be at least 40 to be elected to the hall, which means this was Els’s first year of eligibility.
Ford, 88, elected in the Veterans Category along with Hutchison, also captured the 1955 PGA Championship among his 19 PGA Tour victories. He was named Player of the Year in 1955 and competed in four Ryder Cup competitions for the U.S.
Hutchison, who died in 1977 at the age of 93, won the PGA Championship in 1920 and the British Open in 1921. A native of Scotland, he became a U.S. citizen in 1920.
Bush, 86, selected in the Lifetime Achievement Category, is a recipient of the 1997 PGA of America Distinguished Service Award, the USGA’s 2008 Bob Jones Award and the 2009 PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award. He also served as honorary chairman of the 1996 Presidents Cup matches.
The 2011 inductions will be held May 9, the week of the PGA Tour’s Players Championship, golf’s richest event, at the TPC at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The course is about 25 miles from the Hall of Fame.
Election to the hall requires 65 percent of returned ballots from the PGA Tour Voting Body that consists of golf journalists, historians and golf dignitaries, according to the World Golf Hall of Fame’s website.
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