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But they welled over when the late Don Padgett's induction was accepted by his son, Don Padgett II.
"Of all the places my dad worked -- and there were a number -- this is where he was the happiest," said Padgett II, now president of Pinehurst Resort. "He was more comfortable in Pinehurst than anywhere he had been and he would tell you that he called it home.
"He told me once, 'I never knew how much I'd like it. How could I not like it -- all the people talk about here is golf and basketball.' I'm sure he's smiling down on us right now."
The senior Padgett, who died in 2003, was inducted into the Hall of Fame along with retired Country Club of North Carolina Course Superintendent George Thompson and Ron Green Sr., the renowned columnist of The Charlotte Observer. Honorees are elected by members of the Carolinas Golf Reporters Association.
Padgett was presented by his friend and the man who brought him to Pinehurst in 1987, Pat Corso, the former Pinehurst Resort president.
"When I met Don in March of 1987, Pinehurst was not what it is today," said Corso, who now heads a resort management firm in New Hampshire. "I knew that one of the most important things I would do here was hiring the new director of golf. We wanted someone who could help us restore Pinehurst to the prominence it had known at one time and Padge was the right choice.
"We had talked about bringing a U.S. Open to Pinehurst before as part of our long-term planning, but no one knew how to do it. Don knew how, and he did it. He took on a challenge that would have a lasting impact on Pinehurst, the state of North Carolina and the game of golf.
"The Tour Championships that were held here in 1991 and 1992 were the direct result of Don's relationship with (PGA Tour Director) Deane Beman.
"As the years went by, Don fell in love with Pinehurst and he was instrumental in its becoming one of the world's great destinations."
Thompson, who spent more than 18 years at CCNC and was a pioneer in many facets of his profession, was humble in his acceptance.
"This is especially important, not just for me but for other superintendents," he said. "It's great for a superintendent to be recognized because it opens up the gate for others.
"If you're in golf, this is the place to be. Everything here revolves around the game. When I got here after being hired by Buck Adams, I thought it was Heaven on Earth. It's a golf paradise. It's far enough north to grow bentgrass and far enough south to grow Bermuda.
"I enjoyed playing golf, but it's a game that you have to practice and I never got around to that."
Thompson retired in 2000, and he lost his wife three years ago.
"I know she's watching me tonight," he said. "I don't know where I'd be without her.
"I'm proud to be a superintendent and proud to be the first one elected to the hall of fame."
Green was presented by Irwin Smallwood, a retired editor with the Greensboro Daily News and one of Green's longtime friends among sportswriters covering Atlantic Coast Conference sports as well as golf.
"Ron Green was not only the best sportswriter in North Carolina, he was the best golf writer in the state," Smallwood said. "I found that out through competing against him. He's an artist with words."
Green, who was sports editor of the former Charlotte News for years and a columnist for The Observer until his retirement in 1999, still does some guest pieces for the newspaper. He has covered more than 75 major golf championships including 52 Masters.
"The person in golf that I most enjoyed writing about was the amateur Billy Joe Patton," Green said. "He was always doing something exciting and gave me some great stories.
"I covered many of the greats in the game, including Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. If you can't write about those guys, you can't write. And I've written about men of vision, such as Pat Corso and Don Padgett who made dreams come true.
"I can't imagine a better place to be honored than in Pinehurst or a better place to be a golf writer than in the Carolinas."
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