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Thursday
Feb212013

For Your Consideration: David Graham In The WGHOF

Dave Shedloski catches up with David Graham, who has fallen off the World Golf Hall of Fame ballot even though he has two majors and 25 worldwide wins, not to mention all-important-to-Commissioner-Loyalty, a Presidents Cup captaincy.

"It's hurtful," Graham, 66, said of his omission from the Hall of Fame. "When you have a record that should mean something and it doesn't, you have to wonder what's going on."

Graham isn't even on the Hall of Fame ballot, having fallen off in 2000 after failing to garner five percent of the vote in consecutive years. His only avenue to Hall inclusion is the veteran's category -- the route through which Ken Venturi will be inducted in May with Couples, Montgomerie, former European Tour executive director Ken Schofield and Willie Park Jr., who won two Open Championships in the late 1880s.

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Reader Comments (38)

Graham was a fantastic player, definitely under appreciated. His record in the states could have been a tad better, but he got a late start coming over here and played in a particularly difficult era. His motivation waned after he turned 40; his early life was tougher in many ways than Hogan's, and when he found a bit of comfort, there wasn't much left in the tank. The true story of his removal as Presidents Cup captain, which (trust me) will never be reported accurately because it reflects badly on every party, is a factor in the WGHOF oversight in my opinion. A victory by Graham in the '85 British, which was closer than the final results indicated as Graham experienced some extremely poor luck down the stretch, would have gotten him in years ago. But that's how the cookie crumbles. But man, could David Graham ever hit a golf ball. He was a tremendous driver, long and extremely straight. A good iron player and superb course manager. He was a tough competitor who, like Casper, rarely choked. Nicklaus, who publicly praises everyone but secretly admires few, holds that Graham was one of the best he ever saw. Graham made other contributions to the game. His ideas on equipment influenced a lot of designers, his early stint as Presidents Cup captain went well, he wrote a couple good instruction and golf psychology books, and generally comported himself well. I'm obviously a Graham fan. He's been on the cup and tee committee at Augusta National and sets the course up beautifully. He's an interesting person, a guy who was born under an unfavorable zodiac sign. Nothing was ever given to Graham and even the things he earned were dearly bought. He had to claw for everything he got. I sure as hell would have inducted Graham before, say, Monty, but I breathe in a slightly different universe than most people. If he were inducted it would be a sensational moment, because he would not be able to stop crying for a condition known as "sympathetic response."
02.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDoctor
You had me until that zodiac bit... But with Graham off the ballot and with Couples in the actual hall, do we need more proof that it's primarily a popularity contest?
02.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
You know it's a scam when guys that couldn't putt are getting in. If Davis Love makes it in, membership is officially worth less than a pitcher of warm piss.
Doc you've got my vote!
02.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
Winning all around the world, as he did, should count for something in a WGHOF. It shows a game that adapted to a wide variety of conditions in Australia. Britain,Japan and America.
02.21.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike Clayton
@ Mike Clayton Good point. And shines a spotlight on the bogus inclusion of Jumbo Ozaki, the original big fish in a little pond.

Unless of course Jumbo is in the Hall for something besides his playing record....
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTed Ray's Pipe
The WGHOF is a joke - like many things in golf these days it's all about 'flash and money.' The Doctor is spot on. 'Grime' wasn't flashy but he was a helluva player. He's a far, far more worthy candidate than several others - particularly the latest crew of inductees. Voters who could not appreciate David Graham's achievements are clowns.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterIvan Morris
Would love to know the Presidents Cup story. If Normans in he's in. Both won two Majors. In the Aussie vernacular he was a hard bastard. Not loved but respected. Got the job done with little talent. Saw him hitting balls between Norman and Rogers at 81 Aus Open. Looked like he was off 11.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLongy
Doctor, that was a hell of a post. Graham should definitely be in the HOF. He really steeled himself and won that PGA playoff with Crenshaw with some really great clutch putting after that double-bogey on the 72nd hole.

This goes back a long way and I could be mistaken, but I think it was Graham who was interviewed after a major win and the interviewer mentioned how happy his father must be. Graham (I think) replied that he was not on speaking terms with his father at the time. My apologies if I have this all wrong.

Graham seemed to be the type of guy that could be brutally honest, which I kind of admire.

To have guys like Couples and Monty make the HOF and Graham not on the ballot is just all wrong.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered Commenterfyg
@Longy,
Hit it like an "11", must have been an off day for "the Dog".Had the pleasure of sharing the putting green at "the Aussie" with him a few times. I think he putted more like an "11" (but winning 2 majors, he must of had some good days with the blade).
A graduate of the PGA of Aust traineeship system, a great player, a hard character (his early life dealt him some poor cards).
HHM
02.22.2013 | Unregistered Commenterhh morant
Put me down as another that would love to hear the real President's Cup story.

For the guys that know of Bruce Crampton, would love to hear a bit about him. Another hard Aussie character, it would seem.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered Commenterfyg
@HH. He looked tired after a big year. But Shark was awesome then and Rogers was hot..went on to win.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLongy
Gents
I've also heard a story that Graham set all the pins on the left at the 96 Masters so Norman couldn't win. Or have I dreamt this?
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLongy
I doubt he set the pins. I followed the green coats setting the pins for 2 holes on Sunday morning last year, it was quit comical, I counted 4 green coats and 7 others on the green for a total of 11 people on the green to set a pin and cut the hole. The amazing thing was no one smiled, there was no small talk. It was clearly the most serious thing they had ever done, and they were working from a map, it wasn't even their decision. BTW, they had some type of GPS device, military grade I am sure, to mark the hole after it had been cut.

Agree with Clayton, world wide wins should count in a "World" Golf HOF.
Monty is WGHOF worthy??

With the PGA Tour donating $7.5 million a year to the WGHOF, and one sees great players like Graham and Nelson passed over for Monty it conjurs up the notion that commissioner Tim Fletcher is still laundering money.

Monty, really?

Cronyism, it's the new American Dream.
You gotta love a tour pro who retires to Montana...I should know...put him in!
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBobby D
In the final round of the 81 US Open at Merion, Graham hit every green and missed one fairway...the first hole when his drive just ran out through the fairway.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKC
fyg, it's funny you'd mention Bruce Crampton. He leapt to my mind as well. Crampton once blamed his lack of popularity on his overbite -- he said his face just looked cross. He and Graham looked older and grumpier than their years, and certainly it was a grumpiness well earned. I've always liked Graham because he's an old-fashioned pro, a tough guy who transcended a miserable childhood with grit and brainpower and fought his way to greatness. To think that Colin Montgomerie is in the Hall while a flinty winner like Graham is not ....
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHod
The Hall of Fame and the voters who did not vote for Graham should be ASHAMED. Honestly, he has had a HOF career. Look who he had to beat. There were so many true HOF players he had to beat. The injustice needs to be corrected. I always admired the way he won at Merion, one of my fav courses. He is a legend, he is great player, and he IS a Hall of Famer and he should be in there.

The only thing I can think of is that the standards of the Hall were much higher years ago and maybe 2 majors and a bunch of WW wins was enough at the time. I can't believe that but they had so many greats to pick from back then. But in isolation 2 Majors and all the wins ARE a Hall of Fame career.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJim
That shirt he has on in the picture above is HoF worthy.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeeWatson
S&T....is our boy Johnny still part of the pin cutting brigade?

You know Finchem could right this wrong, he does after all own the WGHOF, right?

In 2011 Commish Flinchum funded the World Golf Foundation to the tune of $13,481,134...

....so he owns the place!
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
@Longy, good story, but since most pins were in their traditional Sunday positions, and quite a few of them to the right, it's probably not true!
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
No sign of Johnny, this was just the crew placing tees, cutting holes following directions from the power crew that actually made the decision of where the pins and tees would go. Not sure if Johnny still runs that that crew, but would imagine he was sipping coffee on the veranda at that early hour on a beautiful Sunday morning.
well Del, of course, the Tour is a non profit as is the WGHOF

I expect a cure for cancer coming from those millions any day
02.22.2013 | Unregistered Commenternon profit winner
It's called the hall of FAME for a reason. Who the bleep is David Graham?

He should stay quietly in the background
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStord
If people don't know anything about David Graham's golf record it says more about their knowledge of golf history tha it does about his right to be in the WGHOF.

I remember, as a British golf supporter, hating seeing his name on the leader board. You just knew the tough little bugger wouldn't back down at all.

He is very deserving of a place in the WGHOF.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterStiggy
Isn't Scott Hoch up for the HOF soon?
02.22.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
Both David Graham and Dave Stockton should be in the HOF - no argument at all. Couples & Monty, probably not but they need to induct someone for some fans to show up. It is a joke though. Typical PGA Tour cronyism. I used to work there - God I'm glad I left...
02.22.2013 | Unregistered Commenteranguis
Angus, What is the joke, the actual physical HOF or the people in it? Curious, never been there.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered Commenterol Harv
fyg,

Graham's relationship with his father was terrible. Father told 15 yo son that if he turned pro 'he would never speak to him again'
He did and the only time they did was when he turned up at the 1970 US Open. They had lunch and that was the end of it.

Someone said here he lacked talent. He turned pro as a left hander and eight years he won the World Cup with Bruce Devlin. No talent? He sure had a talent for hard work - the most under rated talent of all.

Longy,

I played with him in the 3rd round of the Australian Open at Victoria in 81. He was well worn out after flying all over the world collecting appearance fees.
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike Clayton
It would make a great HoF acceptance speech for Fred Couples:

"Thanks. I really appreciate this. It's a great honor; the greatest of my life. I was talking with Raymond Floyd, and we agreed that next year, we have to get David Graham in here."

My personal memory is being a marshall in the gallery to watch Graham beat Ben Crenshaw in a playoff to win the '79 PGA at Oakland Hills. Where Graham made every shot, and Crenshaw made every putt. On a course that really tested both. Now, with indistinguishable career records, how could Crenshaw be in the Hall but not Graham?
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
The Sports Illustrated story is worth a read.
Graham describes himself as "a man of principle, very high principle. I'm a loyal friend, very honest. And I don't do things halfway. I do them right."
Not a recipe for making friends and influencing people.
If a record like Graham's can't get you into the WGHOF, what does? Oh wait, I guess we know...
02.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike T.
David Graham should not of belittled others for their inclusion in the WGHOF. Why? Because they didn't vote themselves in. Why can't Mr. Graham just be thankful for his many blessings in life and bear up kindly to the other? So he's not in the WGHOF ... big deal!! Deal with it. Move on. Tell him to start his own David Graham WGHOF and vote himself in if he wants it so badly.
02.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterWho Cares?
I played golf with him as a caddy at Riversdale Golf Club in 1961, and them remembered a kind but determined character who was always ready to play with the caddies and help them with their game. I will be at Merion in June and I expect that they will give him all the recognition that he well deserves.
03.18.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeter
I didn't know David Graham in his prime as a golfer. I knew David Graham in his prime as a father. His record in golf should get him into the Hall without blinking, he's already in the Father Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Its true... he is loyal, sometimes to a fault, he taught me that while being around him. He could care less if you could hit a golf ball, he cared more that you worked hard at what you were faced with. David Graham would bend over backwards to help you succeed if you were willing to work at it. Screw whoever took him off the ballot. Everyone thats in, including you Mr. "Choke" Norman, should realize the Hall is about much more than just 25 wins (2 majors), its about honor and contributions to the game.
05.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterThomas
I have known David graham since 1973. David Graham was the touring professional at Emerald Hills CC when I was the head professional. I learned more from David about playing, teaching and golf equipment than any of the many golf professionals I have ever been associated with. He went out of his way to help me. Probably the most honest and articulate gentleman I have ever meant.
David Graham not being in the World Golf Hall of Fame is a travesty and a joke! Look at his record. Two majors and over thirty wins on six different continents including eight on the PGA Tour and five on the Champions Tour before being taken down by illness.

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