Former PGA Tour star Lanny Wadkins was inducted into the Southern Golf Association Hall of Fame Tuesday night on the eve of the SGA’s 107th Southern Amateur at The Club at Carlton Woods. Wadkins became the 24th inductee since the SGA Hall was established in 1972.
The highly-selective SGA does not elect a new member every year, but only when it considers a potential candidate especially qualified and timely.
Wadkins, raised in Richmond, VA, and now a Dallas resident, is best known for his PGA Tour career, in which he won 21 titles including the 1977 PGA Championship. However, he credits his entry into national-level golf competition to his participation in the Southern Amateur at Country Club of Virginia when he was 17. Noted amateur Vinny Giles won that tournament, but Wadkins won the first of his two Southern Am victories the next summer.
“The Southern Am got me started,” Wadkins told the crowd at a special tournament-eve dinner Tuesday night. “The Southern has always had a special place in my heart.” Wadkins’ two sons, Travis and Tucker, have competed in several SGA Southern Junior and Southern Amateur events.
Wadkins entertained the crowd with a folksy depiction of how a Tour player’s life in his prime differed from today’s players whose entourages include trainers, coaches and sports psychologists. “I had a sports psychologist,” mused Wadkins. “It was a bartender.”
Currently, Wadkins works as a TV golf commentator for The Golf Channel.