MCIHIGAN GOLF HALL OF FAME 2014 INDUCTEES
IVERSON, WERKMEISTER, RIEKE AND KUPELIAN ELECTED TO
MICHIGAN GOLF HALL OF FAME
BIG RAPIDS – An LPGA Tour winner from the Upper Peninsula,
history-making amateur, pioneer turfgrass educator and multi-media journalist
have been elected to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.
Becky Iverson, Tom Werkmeister, Paul Rieke and Vartan
Kupelian will be inducted June 8 in ceremonies at Ferris State University in
Iverson, born in Escanaba and raised in Gladstone, played
for 14 years on the LPGA Tour, was named to the U.S. Solheim Cup Team in 2000,
won the 1987 Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship and played collegiate golf
at Michigan State University where she was an Academic All-American in 1987-88.
Her playing career highlights include winning the 1995
Friendly’s Classic Title on the LPGA Tour, where she recorded a career-best 63
during the second round with nine birdies, and a tie for second in the 2000
Women’s British Open. She had LPGA Tour career earnings of more than $1.5
million, and also won six times while playing on three mini-tours, including
the Central Florida Challenge Tour where she was Player of the Year in 1993.
Iverson, 46, started golf at eight years of age and credits
her parents, George Clifton and Vickie Layton, as the individuals who have most
influenced her career. She is the mother of one daughter, Emma, who was born in
Currently, she is the director of golf at The Bridges Golf
Course in Madison, Wis., and recognized for leading a junior program
emphasizing life lessons as well as golf skills. In 2013, she became eligible
for and started playing on The LPGA Legends Tour.
Werkmeister, a Kentwood resident who was born in Warren,
made Michigan golf history last summer when he became the first amateur in 38
years to win the Michigan Open Championship. His 2009 Michigan Amateur title
along with the Open title placed him with Chuck Kocsis, Randy Erskine and Lynn
Janson in an elite club of Michigan Golf Hall of Fame members who have won the
two state titles.
Werkmeister also won the 2013 Michigan Mid-Amateur for the
fifth time in the last six years, an unprecedented feat in the 31 years of the
championship. In addition, he made history in the Grand Rapids area by
being the first to ever win the four local “Grand Slam” events, and was
qualifying medalist in the Michigan Amateur before falling to eventual champion
Andrew Chapman in Match Play.
His 2013 season simply added to an amateur career that
includes being three-time Golf Association of Michigan Player of the Year,
reaching the Michigan Amateur’s prestigious Sweet 16 six times, qualifying for
the U.S. Amateur twice and qualifying for the U.S. Mid-Amateur four times.
Werkmeister, 45, started playing golf at age seven, was a two-time
high school All-State player, a Junior College All-American and has been a
force on the amateur scene in Michigan for almost 20 years. He currently runs
his own internet sales business and his wife Leslie is known across the state
as a constant gallery member and sometimes caddie.
Rieke, a Professor Emeritus at Michigan State University
since 1999 and affiliated with the university since 1960, is generally regarded
throughout the nation and world as the authority on turfgrass soils and
nutrition and credited by his peers in the international development and
advancement of turfgrass science.
He has co-authored five books in the area of soils and plant
nutrition, published 32 journal articles and over 400 non-technical papers,
taught over 5,000 students, worked with countless others on extension and
research projects, served six years as leader of the MSU Turfgrass Team, served
the International Turfgrass Society, the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation,
the USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Committees, the Golf Course
Superintendents Association of America, the PGA Tour Agronomy Advisory
Committee and the Golf Association of Michigan Green Committee.
He helped develop the Hancock Turfgrass Research Center at
MSU, was involved in the indoor turfgrass project at the Silverdome for the
1994 World Cup and has played a role in securing some $1.2 million in external
grants and donations to Michigan State.
Rieke, 79, is a resident of Okemos and among his many awards
are distinguished service awards from the Golf Association of Michigan and the
Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.
Kupelian was the third Detroit golf writer to be elected
President of the Golf Writers Association of America, an international
organization of 950 members. He also joins join Jack Berry and John Walter in
the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.
He followed Berry as the golf writer at the Detroit News in
1994 after working for several years on a bevy of beats. He covered his first
major golf championship in 1973 when Johnny Miller won at Oakmont.
Kupelian, a graduate of Highland Park High School and Wayne
State University, has authored three books on golf, including one on Tiger
Woods, the most recent “100-year History of Red Run Golf Club” and “Chuck
Kocsis, Michigan’s Golfer of the 20th Century,” which he wrote
pro-bono with proceeds going to the Michigan Golf Foundation. This year his
book on Oakland Hills Country Club will be published to commemorate the 100th
anniversary of the prestigious club in 2016.
Currently, the 67-year-old Farmington Hills resident is part
of a weekly radio show in the Detroit market, writes a weekly column for
PGATOUR.com as Champions Tour insider, works as a lead writer for Masters.com
during the Masters Tournament each year at Augusta National Golf Club, is a
senior correspondent for Global Golf Post, and is a member of the Board of
Governors of the Golf Association of Michigan and chairman of the GAM
The induction of Iverson, Werkmeister, Rieke and Kupelian
brings Hall of Fame membership to 105. In November it was announced that Ferris
State University had been selected as the new location of the Michigan Golf
Hall of Fame and its collection of plaques, portraits and memorabilia that
commemorate its members.
Learn more about the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame at its
website — www. michigan-golf-foundation.com. For more information about this
year’s induction ceremony, contact Loretta Larkin at [email protected]
or (248) 719-0650.