Perhaps driven by the controversial election of Fred Couples and Colin Montgomerie to the World Golf Hall of Fame, a number of changes were recently implemented to the selection process.
For what it’s worth, I think Fred Couples is worthy of induction. He had 15 career wins and a Masters’ victory, which is in my mind a great career. At one point, he was World #1. To that, consider the impact he had on the game’s popularity, and I think it adds up. I’m less certain of Colin Montgomerie. He had no Majors, but is fourth all time on the European Tour in wins. An argument can be made that those European Tour wins were not as tough as PGA TOUR wins.
Nonetheless, the World Golf Hall of Fame has revised its selection criteria. The highlights:
Inductions will be biennial. This decreases the chance of a class without an induction. It perhaps also increases the chances that the honorees actually will show up.
A 16 person Selection Commission will choose the induction class
Election requires 75% of the vote of the full commission. This would have tanked Montgomerie and Couples.
There are now just four categories: Male and Female competitors, veterans, and lifetime achievement.
Men need 15 wins, or two majors or Players Championship. Clearly another attempt by the PGA TOUR to make the Players a Major.
Women need fifteen wins in Rolex ranking events, or two victories in the five LPGA Majors.
No more than two candidates can be selected for each category, and no more than five per class.
As before, a player must be 40, or five years removed from competition.
Tiger would be eligible in 2017. He’ll be a first round, unanimous ballot.
The Selection Commission for the 2015 class will be chaired by four WGHOF members: Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Annika Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez. Also included are three golf journalists, and a representative from the PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA, Masters, PGA of America, USGA, R&A and, for the 2015 class, the Japan LPGA and Sunshine Tour.
Overall, though, it is still easier to get into the World Golf Hall of Fame than into the LGPA Hall of Fame. Here are the criteria for that honor:
Must be/have been an “active” LPGA Tour member for 10 years:
Must have won/been awarded at least one of the following – an LPGA major championship, the Vare Trophy or Rolex Player of the Year honors; and
Must have accumulated a total of 27 points, which are awarded as follows – one point for each LPGA official tournament win, two points for each LPGA major tournament win and one point for each Vare Trophy or Rolex Player of the Year honor earned.
I like the LPGA system because it leaves nothing to the vagaries of opinion and the whims of the selection committee. You either have the points, or you don’t.