Mashashi "Jumbo" Ozaki
There isn't really a story much like the one of Jumbo Ozaki. A professional baseball pitcher in his early 20s, Ozaki decided to try out pro golf at the age of 23 and never turned back.
Nicknamed "Jumbo" for his size and length off the tee, Ozaki is the most successful player ever on the Japanese Tour, winning an astonishing 94 times in his career, between 1973 and 2002 (to put that in perspective, Sam Snead has the record for most PGA Tour wins ever with 82, 12 shy of Jumbo's number in Japan).
The interesting thing about Jumbo was how long he was competitive. He made his first cut in a major championship in 1973 when he finished in a tie for eighth at the Masters, and his last in 2000 at the PGA Championship.
Jumbo was the golfing figure in Japan for decades, paving the way for names like Yuta Ikeda and Ryo Ishikawa.
Ozaki will be the fourth Japanese player inducted into the Golf Hall of Fame, joining Hisako "Chako" Higuchi (2003 inductee), Isao Aoki ('04) and Ayako Okamoto ('05).
- Jumbo Ozaki