Corey Pavin, Craig Stadler welcomed into SCGA Hall of Fame
The collegiate rivalry was put to the side Thursday, as UCLA alum Corey Pavin and USC alum Craig Stadler became the 27th and 28th members of the Southern California Golf Association Hall of Fame. The camaraderie and mutual respect between the Champions Tour players were on display at the Sheraton Universal in Universal City, where the 2014 induction ceremony was held in front of a crowd of more than 250 attendees.
“The company we’re joining today, the past inductees into the SCGA Hall of Fame, is beyond anything I can fathom,” said Pavin. “When I started playing golf as a kid, I would never have thought that something like this would happen.”
In attendance to accept his honor was 15-time PGA TOUR winner Corey Pavin, who grew up in Oxnard, Calif. and played golf collegiately at UCLA. With his family, caddie and close friends present, an emotional Pavin took the time to express his gratitude to those who helped him get where he is today.
Pavin’s road to glory began after graduating from Oxnard High School. In 1977, he won the Los Angeles City Amateur and Junior World Championships, earning himself a scholarship to UCLA. As a Bruin, he totaled 11 victories, and in 1981 was a member of the winning U.S. Walker Cup Team. He earned his first PGA TOUR victory in 1984 at the Houston Coca-Cola Open, but his greatest feat would come more than 10 years later at Shinnecock Hills GC, where he would win a thrilling U.S. Open.
“In his career, Corey Pavin has hit amazing golf shots,” said Tom Lehman, the five-time PGA TOUR winner who inducted Pavin into the Hall of Fame. “He is the most talented golfer I know. Others may have been longer off the tee, but no one was better. And even more important he’s an incredible person.”
Never the long hitter, Pavin was known for his pinpoint accuracy and course management skills. Pavin was a member of three Ryder Cup teams, later captaining the U.S. squad in 2010. He has also collected 13 professional wins on the Champions Tour.
Joining Pavin in the 2014 Hall of Fame class was fellow Southern California native Stadler. Growing up playing his junior golf in San Diego, Stadler won the 1971 CIF/SCGA SoCal Regional Championship at Virginia CC in Long Beach as a member of La Jolla High School. He would later attend USC, earning All-American honors all four years.
“It's an interesting career, professional golf,” said Stadler. “It’s a lot of work, a lot of travel and a lot of entertainment. But to be able to do something you loved as a child and do it for the rest of your life, I am so blessed and so lucky. Today is something I will always cherish and always remember and I’m honored to share this day with Corey.”
Known affectionately as “the Walrus” due to his down-to-earth personality and iconic mustache, Stadler had a booming amateur career, winning the 1973 U.S. Amateur and the 1975 Walker Cup as a member of Team USA. He would go on to win 13 times on the PGA TOUR, including the 1982 Masters. He has also amassed nine victories on the Champions Tour.
“The trophies will rust and the memories will fade, but his friendship will last a lifetime,” said former PGA TOUR player Pat McGowen during the induction speech. “Craig does everything passionately, including his hobbies, career and most important his friendships.”
Both inductees were honored with sepia-toned pieces painted by Scott Medlock, one of America’s foremost artists who has been commissioned as the official artist of the SCGA Hall of Fame since its inception in 2007. With each piece, Medlock captures a cherished moment from the inductee’s past.