After decades of being snubbed, an emotional David Graham has officially been inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame at a lavish ceremony in St Andrews.
The only Australian to win two different major championships, Graham had long been ignored despite his 1979 PGA Championship and 1981 US Open triumphs.
The hard-nosed competitor also claimed 32 worldwide tournament wins and is one of just four golfers also including Hale Irwin, Bernard Langer and Gary Player to have won events on six different continents.
The 69-year-old fought back tears as he took his place amongst the golfing elite, a day he feared would never come after suffering some serious heart issues of late.
Graham had a cardioverter defibrillator attached to his heart less than two years ago that he described as “a life-saving device” and still takes extensive medication to control heart issues.
“I went through a period where I didn’t think it was going to come and I didn’t understand why it hadn’t happened,” Graham said ahead of Thursday’s start to the British Open at the home of golf.
“I’m delighted. I could say it’s late coming, but it’s better late than never.
“I’m obviously excited and delighted to get into the Hall of Fame. I guess it’s even more special in the fact that it’s at St Andrews.
In the past, the Hall of Fame induction was done by a popular vote and Graham failed to garner enough support and was forced to watch non-major winning golfers get the nod before him.
But his 29-year snub ended on Monday.
It was said his gritty on-course personality made little friends and as a trailblazing Australian living in American to play their tour, something obviously common today, he was also alienated by some back home.
But in recent times Graham became a poster child for change to the selection process and criteria and it is now a 16-person committee with the likes of Arnold Palmer and Gary Player on board, ensuring his time has finally come.
“I never used to be very emotional. I used to make putts and I never cried when I putted. It is an emotional thing, and I think when you get older, you get more emotional. It’s the end of your career,” a teary Graham said.
“I’m not sure why I wasn’t voted in (before). I think I will say this, and it’s understandable, that there was a period where I was like a man without a country because I wasn’t in Australia anymore.
“In those days, I had people write about me that I was a traitor, I left my country, I wasn’t a good Australian, I moved to America and all this kind of crap that people don’t even discuss anymore.
“But I have absolutely no regrets doing what I did. I wouldn’t be here tonight if I had not have made that choice.”