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Living Male Hall Of Fame Players Boycott Ceremony In Apparent Nod To Fellow No-Show Willie Park Jr.

Of course Park Jr. did have the excuse of having been dead for almost 88 years.

What does it say about the modern professional and the World Golf Hall of Fame that living Hall iductees can't be bothered to attend the ceremony? Or that more active caddies turned up than players? Sources present who emailed their annoyance or Tweeted about the ceremnony revealed that there were eight hall members at Monday night's ceremony. None were hall member/players of the Male-American variety.

Ponte Vedra resident Vijay Singh was no doubt licking his wounds and was too sore to attend after not getting penalized for violating PGA Tour doping policy.

Garry Smits reports on a ceremony that included an emotional speech by Fred Couples and a predictably silly statement by PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, who, by spearheading inductions of George Bush and Ken Schofield while overlooking worthier players, is in danger of making the Hall a Ponte Vedra Cronyfest.

Couples called the PGA Tour “my playground for 33 years.”

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said that Couples’ popularity, which began when he won the 1984 Players Championship at the age of 25, “changed the game.”

“Only a few players move the needle,” Finchem said. “We owe him a debt of gratitude.”

Nantz became especially emotional about Venturi, who was unable to travel to St. Augustine because of illness. His sons, Matt and Tim Venturi, accepted the induction and crystal trophy for him.

“I loved Ken Venturi, a friend and a mentor,” Nantz said of his CBS broadcast partner. “I’m heart-broken he’s not standing here now. Most people know Kenny has been ill for some time. The prognosis is still good. He can get through this.”

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Reader Comments (15)

Watched it last night. Seemed like a really nice event. All gave really nice speeches, as did the people presenting them. When a method or criteria has been set, it seems silly and petty for then criticizing and second guessing the results. HOF arguments are a staple of every sport, and golf is no exception, but having won election, it would be nice to let these people enjoy their time without all of the carping and complaining, but I guess that is too much to ask.
05.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
The fact that nobody came show how much the "honor" really means to them. Compare that to a Tuesday night dinner in northern Georgia.
Whether you like him or not, Montgomery was witty and humble. It was refreshing to see another side of him. Interesting, he took full blame for the way he was treated by US golf fans.
Why did the Golf Channel tape delay the ceremony?? Why not go live even if a few dull/awk moments let us see it as it happens.
05.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMedia maven
@ No Longer - I'd say the tears streaming down Freddie's face, as well that of Jim Nantz were a better indicator of the degree of "honor" felt by the recipients. Last year's inductees had similar reactions and comments in terms of their feelings.
05.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Brian-- I don't know the exact number of living male HOF'rs, but I know it is a substantial number, my guess is that a fair number also live in Florida.

For zero, nada, zip, goose egg, of them to show up means something. Contrast that with the pro football hall of fame where typically 75-80 former enshrinees show up for a, hot as hell, outside event in August.
Maybe someone should start a golf "Hall of Greatness" far far away from Florida.
05.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
No I agree that is is puzzling / disappointing that none of them were there. I have no explanation why that has not evolved as a tradition.
05.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
Brian, I agree that the criteria has been set, repeated, washed, rinsed, and done again and again, and no amount of snarking at those who have been induced (? correct usage- no, but I like it anyway) will change the slightly lower standards of excellence afforded golf pros, vs some of the other HOFs.

If anyone saw the pre broadcast interviews done by Rich Lerner, and heard Boom Boom talk about beating balls as a kid, going home to eat dinner and then going back and hitting balls till dark, day aftr day- would have a new appreciation for the ''casual'' swing, which he perfected by finding it in the dirt. I used to be on the board of directors of a regional association with a woman who grew up with Freddie, their families were friends, and she may have been there last nite, but when golf came around, and she revealed her lifelong friendship, she had nothing but good things to say and addressed how much time he spent on the game. His emotion was the cumilation of all those days alone- we all know that feeling- reaping this great award.

And Monty bit the bullet on bringing America down on him as his fault, and I was amazed Nance did so well, given his penchant for tearing up over the first shot of the day from 13 at ANGC- I believe Venturi is really in a fight for his life, and Ken took Nance under his wing and helped him become the arguably great sportscaster that he is. I am/was not a fan of Kenny-made fun of him- but I have thought for years- he deserved to be in the HOF, even a more stringent requirement HOF- he earned it.

Ken S.also earned his way in, and he continues to do great work on behalf of the international golfing community.

It is not proper to slam these great heroes of golf while the soup is still warm, no matter what you think the ''proper criteria'' is. We have a HOF that has hit it out of the park, and which has also made embarassing inclusions, when all the facts will be revealed. But it was a day to celebrate, and again, I would like to congratulate each and every one who was inducted last nite, and who have been included since the Hall's inception.
05.7.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
nice post Digs
05.7.2013 | Unregistered Commenterchico
How long before Tim inductes himself ?
05.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSean Murphy
why do so many folks get it wrong as Nance instead of Nantz?? I thought Nantz' thanking of Finchem for all he did for Venturi was the only icky moment of the evening.
05.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMedia maven
@Media - I didn't think it was icky. He was specifically referring to Fincham's pick of Venturi as the Presidents Cup Captain in 2000. Certainly there were others that probably came to everyone's mind at the time - Tom Watson for example - but obviously Nantz thought that it was something of a stretch/or a payback gesture and that it really was appreciated by Venturi to get the call.
05.7.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrianS
I agree. Brian. The thanks to Finchem was, it seems, that this appointment put a new hitch in Ken's giddyup.

I should like to point out that my dislike of Ken was centered on him being very outspoken against Casey Martin. Venturi was afforded the opportunity to broadcast after overcoming a serious speech defect, and yet was not so gracious to offer Martin the same consideration, in a manner of speaking.

Ken left the booth a couple of years after he really should have- he could have let on a high note, but was really on a serious downskid when he finally gave it up. I can't blame him. N one wants to say it's over. I hope JM quits before he starts embarassing himself; he already has had some less than good days in the booth in the last year.

But back to Kenny. I wish him all the best in his struggle to get well. It was nice that his sons were there to recieve his award, and while Nantz is another that I make fun of, it was obvious that Venturi offered genuine affection for him.

And speaking of ''Ken''... Schofield deserved to be in, and thankfully, the committee placed him NOW, and did no wait until he was dead or dying. He is really one of the 10 most influential people in golf of the last century. Bravo!
05.7.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
I nominate this post for induction into 'The Most Gratuitous Negative Vijay Reference Hall of Fame'.

Doesn't he host his own party during TPC week? Maybe that's where everyone was.

The fact that up until this week he was the holder of the 'fewest votes for an inductee' award shows that having votes cast by the media isn't necessarily the best policy. (Though he might have lost votes simply because he is still active on the PGA Tour.) Seriously, the guy's post-40 career alone beats Couples. In fact, his 2003-5 tally is better.

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