Amy Alcott had waited to join the World Golf Hall of Fame for a long time. She had been on the cusp of entering the Hall since she captured her third Dinah Shore Classic in 1991 and plunged into the pond alongside the 18th green to celebrate the occasion. It was one of the shining moments of Alcott’s illustrious career, but since then she had been reminded for what she had not accomplished – that elusive 30th win that would grant her instant access through the LPGA Points system into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Whenever she competed, she said she heard well-meaning fans say, “Come on, Amy. You can win one more and get in (the Hall of Fame).” These warm wishes of support were a constant reminder of how close she truly was to joining an elite group.
On Feb. 9, 1999, Alcott’s wait ended; not when she won again, but when the LPGA membership overwhelmingly voted in favor of a point system for active players and the creation of a 12-person veterans committee. She and Beth Daniel were the immediate benefactors of the new qualification standards.
“You have to be a perfectionist. You have to hate playing badly more than you love playing well. You have to hate losing more than you love winning.”
“Looking at my career and Amy’s career, I felt we were Hall of Famers for quite some time,” said Daniel.
The former qualifications were considered the most rigorous in professional sports. Only 14 players had met the standards since 1950, and none since Betsy King in 1985.
“The goal of the Hall of Fame is to honor those players that dominated women’s golf during their era,” said then-LPGA Commissioner Jim Ritts. “As the tour has grown in stature and the depth of talent expanded, the existing criteria precluded some of the tour’s greatest players from gaining recognition. The hallmark of the newly approved criteria is that the Hall of Fame will remain performance-based, and yet it is an attainable achievement for the elite players of today.”
Indeed, Alcott was a dominant player of her era. A native of Kansas City, Alcott joined the LPGA in 1975 after capturing the 1973 USGA Girls’ Junior at age 17. On her 19th birthday, in only the third LPGA Tour event she entered, she won the Orange Blossom Classic and went on to win LPGA Rookie of the Year.
Hanse Golf Course Design, of which Amy Alcott is a part, was selected by the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee to design the golf course in Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games in 2016.
Since then, she blazed irons better than almost anyone in the game to amass 29 victories during her pro career, including five majors. With her two victories in 1986, Alcott had 15 top-10 finishes, including winning the Nabisco Dinah Shore and becoming only the third LPGA member to surpass the $2 million mark in career earnings. She continued her winning ways and reached the $3 million mark in 1994.
“To be honored in the great circles of golf, to be enshrined with the other great Hall of Famers is something that I truly looked forward to,” said Alcott at the press conference announcing her place in the Hall of Fame. “In my heart, I have felt that I’ve had a Hall of Fame career.”
Alcott has continued to impact the game since her playing career ended. In 2008, she was named to the Advisory Board of the Southern California PGA Foundation. And from 2001-04, she was a major part of an LPGA event, the Office Depot Championship Hosted by Amy Alcott.
She has also been involved in course design, consulting on Indian Canyons Golf Course in Palm Springs, Calif., and Brick Landing Golf Club in Ocean Isle, North Carolina. In March 2012, Alcott’s crowning course design achievement came when she paired with Hanse Golf Course Design to create the winning bid to design the golf course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the 2016 Olympics.