Golfer-broadcaster Jim Nelford inducted to Canadian Golf Hall of Fame
Jim Nelford waves after pulling his ball out of the cup after hitting a hole-in-one on the ninth hole during the Regions Charity Classic golf tournament in this 2007 file photo. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)
Published Wednesday, March 6, 2013 3:13PM EST
Broadcaster and former World Cup winner Jim Nelford said he was lucky to have lived his dream as he accepted his invitation Wednesday to join the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame in 2013.
"Golf has always been my friend and companion and always will be," he said as the three inductees for this year were announced.
Nelford was joined by amateur Alison Murdoch and Jack McLaughlin, honoured posthumously in the builder category.
It was a sweep of sorts for British Columbia, with all three having strong ties to the province.
The Vancouver-born Nelford's best PGA finishes were a couple of runner-ups but he was regarded as a great ball striker and won back-to-back Canadian Amateur Championships in 1975 and 1976. He then teamed with Dan Halldorson to win the 1980 World Cup.
His PGA career was derailed in September 1985 by a boating accident on Saguaro Lake in Arizona. He was struck and severely injured while water skiing.
"I knew what it was like to be old and frail and scared," he said of the aftermath of the accident that left one of his arms shattered.
He rejoined the tour for a few years after what he described as groundbreaking surgery but says his game was never the same.
"Being in a gun battle with guys, I'd shoot and the bullet would just dribble out of he barrel."
He says he was amazed he still managed to make enough cuts to retire as a member of the PGA tour.
"In the end, it was just a lot to handle and it just kind of wore me out but I was glad to get into broadcasting after that."
In 1992, he won the Ben Hogan Award handed out by the Golf Writers Association of America for someone who remains active in the sport despite a major disability.
After his playing career ended, he went on to become a broadcaster with the Golf Channel, CBS, ESPN, NBC, TSN and CTV.
Also entering in the player category is Murdoch, a four-time winner of the Canadian Senior Championship. She also won back-to-back super senior's championships, plus the British and Irish senior titles.
She said she played a lot when she was younger at the provincial level but "never was any good" prior to becoming a senior. It was perhaps a slight exaggeration since she was also the 1967 Quebec junior girls title.
"I turned the corner after I reached the senior stage," said Murdoch, who now lives in Victoria.
She said she was surprised when she received the call.
"I had not expected at all that my senior career would be recognized this way," she said
McLaughlin was president of both the Ontario and British Columbia PGA boards, as well as director of the PGA of Canada.
"I know how much this would have meant to my father if he were still with us," said his son Jim.
"I don't know that there was a province that he didn't touch in terms of his legacy and his influence."