Golf Hall of Fame Doesn't Make Sense

The Houston Chronicle has a story today about the, yawn, Shell Houston Open, one of those tournaments no one really cares about because it falls after The Masters, and too far before the US Open.
Anyway, the story in The Chronicle discusses the fact that Vijay Singh is a member of the Golf Hall of Fame as of this year, which just goes to show how ridiculous the Golf Hall of Fame is.
Now I actually kind of like the World Golf Village and Hall of Fame and have always enjoyed the time I’ve played at their two courses (though The King and the Bear is grossly overrated and overpriced).
However, Cooperston it ain’t, and no one really cares much about the Hall of Fame, for a variety of reasons.

First and foremost, the selection process doesn’t match up to baseball. What makes Cooperston so impressive and its Hall of Fame so exclusive, is the way members are chosen. Once a year baseball writers vote on who should be allowed to enter Cooperston. All of the greats are there — Mantle, Dimaggio, Mays, Ruth, Cobb — and new members are allowed to be added five years after they officially retire from the sport.

It is that last point — the time frame in which members can be elected — that makes baseball’s hall so intriguing and makes golf’s such a bore.

Yes, Vijay Singh is a great golfer. Yes, he probably deserves entrance to the Hall of Fame. But why not wait until he’s been at least a few years removed from his playing days on the PGA Tour. It seems wrong that a Hall of Famer is still a very active, and very successful.

Why not wait until a player is a few years past playing more than say ten tournaments on the PGA Tour before allowing them to be entered into the Hall of Fame? And why did the Hall pick the age of 40 for entrance? These days, there are a great number of players who are very active and successful after the age of 40 (Jay Haas anyone….).

Here are the official criteria for entrance into the Hall:

* At least 40 years old
* Member 10 years
* 10 TOUR wins, or 2 wins among Masters, U.S. Open,
British Open, PGA Championship, and THE PLAYERS Championship
* Champions Tour member five years
* 20 wins between TOUR, Champions Tour, or
* 5 wins among above listed, plus U.S. Senior Open, JELD-WEN Tradition, PGA Seniors’ Championship, FORD SENIOR PLAYERS Championship
* Require votes on 65 percent of ballots returned

Why not make the age requirement 50, or five years since the player last teed it up at 10 tour events within a 12 month time frame? And should wins on the Champions Tour even count? Since no one really gets excited about the Champions Tour, admitting members who have won the Jeld-Wen Tradition (a misnomer if I’ve ever seen one) seems to limit the credibility of the PGA Tour members that are admitted.

Anyway, apparently Vijay Singh is a Hall of Famer and is playing in Houston. Now see if anyone cares.

* Darren Clarke says he can’t quite figure out what happened at Harbour Town after his great second round that put him well in the lead. I can — he hit tons of bad shots, couldn’t recover from those shots and then hit his final approach into the crap left of the green when he shouldn’t have been within 10 yards of that area. I thought Clarke would be better than this — but he’s quickly looking like one of the great failures in pro golf, a legitimate successor to Colin Montgomerie as the player who got the least out of his talent.

That said, I’m glad to hear Clarke’s wife, who is struggling with cancer, is doing much better.

Check out the story on his official Website

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Jeff Lancaster

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Complete agreement with your take on the Golf Hall of Fame. I love the game, will likely never be called a golfer, and have a great affinity for water with a two iron in my hand, but why in the name of Ed Furgol does the Hall elect players who are still active?

    Incidently, can you name an open that Jack Nicklaus never won? That’s right, the Canadian Open!!!
    He gave it several spirited tries in his day, but the closest he came was second place.

  • 40 is fine for entry into the HOF because… in most sports… guys usually hang it up around the age of 30-35. But in golf guys play competitively until the age of 60… so waiting till a guy stops playing is out the question.

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