"Is it a Hall of Fame or a mausoleum?"

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That’s the very appropriate question posed by Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch a week after we learned of the latest inductees, including one who was worthy long before she passed away.

From Lynch’s column:

The tardy selection of Peggy Kirk Bell isn’t the first time the Hall has soured what ought to be a special achievement.

Last year’s ceremony was in New York, a lavish affair so tedious and drawn-out that I feared some older Hall of Famers present might make the “In Memoriam” list before the evening ended. Earlier that day I met with Ian Woosnam, one of the inductees. Woosie won the Masters, was ranked World No. 1 and had more than 50 career victories. I asked if it rankled that he didn’t get the call to the Hall until he was almost 60 years old, after years of seeing others with less impressive careers cut in line.

“What do you think?” he answered with a thin smile.

Part of the problem lies in the vetting and selection of candidates. That is determined by two committees, both stacked with officials from various Tours and governing bodies. Honorable people all, but it stretches credulity to assume that every decision is free of institutional or personal bias toward particular candidates.

From there he goes into the selection that expedited the Hall’s ongoing run-ins with credibility: Monty.

We discussed all of this silliness on Morning Drive today, including the reason to even care about having a great HOF, the oversights, the issues with voting politics caused by shifting away from writers as voters, and, most of all the ongoing issues with having a Hall full of too many oversights to ever just enjoy the current class.

 

Is It Time To Just Start Ignoring The World Golf Hall Of Fame?

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That’s the question I’ve grappled with on the news of the World Golf Hall of Fame’s latest induction class announced today.

The short answer to the above question is a simple, lamentable and painful yes.

This is not a reflection on the current class, all fine contributors to the game who at various times were, are or will be worthy inductees at Pebble Beach next year. The problem lies in the increasingly clubby edge to who does get inducted. I’ve grown bored with the blatant, almost incomprehensible disregard for anyone who might have contributed to the game prior to 1990. Or, anyone who might have crossed former the long list of executives and former players whose feathers are easily ruffled.

Because, heaven forbid, someone designed a bunch of brilliant courses, wrote profound books that documented the game’s charms or broke ground in the instruction world. Those core professions vital to “growing the game” mean nothing to golf’s Hall of Fame. Remember, this group only took A.W. Tillinghast after much kicking and screaming, then inducted him with tributes from esteemed historian Harris English and other tour players. A man who gave his life to the game on multiple fronts, who had more golfing soul than most of the Hall members combined, and continues to influence the sport decades after his passing, could barely get in the Hall.

A long list of visionaries, revolutionaries and dreamers who gave their life to the sport has been shunned by the Hall either due to ignorance, politics or the laziness of not grasping how those people influenced the sport. The structure of the Hall also does not help recognize anyone outside of players. Sheer ignorance of what it means to contribute to the sport claims plenty of other victims, too.

Due to inevitable comparisons, many inductees often get unfairly seen as unworthy given how many of their equally worthy predecessors have been overlooked.

Which is why, like most of today’s top players and some of the committee types listed on the selection profess page who have blown off Hall ceremonies even when they were within blocks of the induction, it’s time to start ignoring the World Golf Hall of Fame. Given its already tenuous place in the sport, this won’t be difficult.

Rose Has HOF In Mind, Is He The Last Of A Generation?

I'm a baseball fan and when they talk of certain players being "Hall worthy" it adds to your sense of satisfaction in watching a competitor who fans will talk about fifty years from now.

And while golf's Hall of Fame is largely a strong representation of the game's greats--with maybe a need to round out wings recognizing pioneers, architects and media the way baseball has--it's generally a solid representation of the very best to have played the game.

Which is why the inability of recent generations to throw on a jacket and tie to show their respect is so disheartening, especially as they might learn the game was played well (or better) before them. But count Justin Rose in among those using the Hall of Fame barrier as incentive to round out his career, which is still very much in his prime after two wins on top of a near-Masters win in April. But is he the last of a generation?

Rex Hoggard at GolfChannel.com talked with Rose about a goal of achieving HOF status.

In the short term, Rose is within four rounds of winning the European Tour’s Race to Dubai following his back-to-back victories; and another major championship is always the goal, particularly a Masters’ jacket following April’s near-miss.

But there’s an even loftier finish line for Rose, the ultimate benchmark when grading careers that transcend money lists and the kind of week-in and week-out hyperbole that can often blur the bigger picture.

“I've always said I'd like to be a Hall of Fame player, and I guess who makes that determination, I don't know, but that's kind of what I'm working towards,” Rose said. “So is that two major championships and 20 wins? I don't know what it is. Olympic gold will probably be kind of a nice bargaining chip when it comes to that.

Butch Harmon For The World Golf Hall Of Fame?

That's the case Jerry Tarde makes at GolfDigest.com before sharing a short Q&A with the famed instructor.

While I fully support his place in the Hall--after some early figures in the instruction and game development world get their due to ensure no recency bias--a Butch induction might force the players whose careers he made to show for the World Golf Hall of Fame ceremony! Maybe.

Showing Up Is Still Hard To Do For Golf's Under-55 (Males)

The World Golf Hall Of Fame produced another special evening at Cipriani in New York to usher in the 2017 class consisting of Henry Longhurst, Davis Love, Meg Mallon, Lorena Ochoa and Ian Woosnam.

Jeff Babineau of Golfweek shares the thoughts of inductees on a ceremony eve  that gathered the largest-ever past Hall attendance. (Counts varied, but 1300 tournament wins and 150 major championship wins were represented by the 34 pictured to your right.)

The LPGA Tour is in New Zealand this week, but their American-based players turned out to support their former rival, Ochoa. Besides another stellar turnout of past female HOF inductees, current stars Morgan Pressel, Michelle Wie, Cristie Kerr and Stacy Lewis were in attendance.

Even though the ceremony was timed to coincide with the 2017 Presidents Cup so  officials and players gathering in New York could attend, most under-55 male stars failed to take the hint: your attendance would have been enjoyed at the World Golf Hall of Fame ceremony. You might even learn that the game was played well before 1999!

As Doug Ferguson highlighted in his AP game story, Love insisted the night was the greatest honor of a life well-lived. Yet not one player or assistant from Love's 2016 Ryder Cup squad or the 2017 Presidents Cup team was able to show support in person.

Granted, there are team room table tennis games to play, room service appetizers to devour and naps to take. But given how much nonsense is uttered when today's young players hang around after a buddy wins, the no-show brigade suggests the admiration does not extend to their elders or golf's history. The history-makers, cord-cutters before there were cord-cutters and trailblazers who allow today's giants to play for massive money.

But worse than the younger players not attending: the noticeable absense of longtime Love competitors and Cup colleagues--Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Nick Price, Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk--who are all in town and yet unable to make the short trip from a downtown hotel to Wall Streets' beautiful Cipriani ballroom. The first four are current World Golf Hall of Fame members, the last two will be inducted some day.

These lines from Love's speech suggest how he will feel about this no-show brigade when reflecting on the night, but only after he's soaked up the great vibes and love from his proud family:

I was lucky enough to play for Arnold and for Jack, too, when they were captains of Presidents Cup teams. I was lucky enough to have Watson, Kite, Watkins, Strange and Sutton as my Ryder Cup captains. I was a captain twice of Ryder Cup teams. This week I'll be an assistant captain of a Presidents Cup for a third time. When I look back over the 31 years of my professional career, my involvement in these team matches, matches that have brought together the world of golf, have meant as much to me as anything I have done in the game. And I'm looking forward to supporting my teammates this week at Liberty National.

Too bad they couldn't be bothered to return the Love.

Reminder: World Golf HOF Induction Tonight, 7 pm ET

It may not be in your local listings, but the World Golf Hall of Fame ceremony will air during Golf Channel's Live From the Presidents Cup coverage during the 7-9 pm ET window.

Your 2017 inductees, bringing the hall to 155 members:

Henry Longhurst

Davis Love

Meg Mallon

Lorena Ochoa

Ian Woosnam

Ryan Herrington at Golf World filed fun look at things you might not know about the inductees.

Garry Smits of the Florida Times Union filed this on Davis Love, who still can't believe the company he is joining.

Cara Robinson, who is tonight's presenter, with a preview on Morning Drive.

Woosnam In The HOF: Miscarriage Of Justice Rectified?

That was Anthony Woolford's view of Ian Woosnam's previous Hall Of Fame slights, now rectified by the committee.

We discussed on Golf Central both Woosnam and, more importantly, Henry Longhurst's selection, and while I'm happy for Woosnam and the validation of his 29-win European Tour career, in a strange way his selection is fascinating because he overcomes a bold Tweet.

From Woolford's story:

Woosie wrote on Twitter at the time: “After seeing the results of the World Golf Hall of Fame, I think it’s time to say goodbye to golf and retire.”

But two years on former world No.1 Woosnam took to social media again to tweet his delight at finally being recognised by the World Golf Hall of Fame when he joined fellow inductees Davis Love III, who captained the US to Ryder Cup victory over Europe this autumn, another well-known figure in British golf, the legendary late BBC commentator Henry Longhurst as well as Solheim Cup stalwart Meg Mallon and former women’s world No.1 Lorena Ochoa.

2017 World Golf Hall Of Fame Class: Longhurst, Love, Mallon, Ochoa And Woosnam

Hey how about that Henry Longhurst!

The full release:

ST. AUGUSTINE, Florida (October 18, 2016) - The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum announced today its 2017 Induction Class: Henry Longhurst, Davis Love III, Meg Mallon, Lorena Ochoa and Ian Woosnam.
 
These five new members will be enshrined at the World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City the week of the Presidents Cup.
 
Following is a brief bio on each new Inductee:
 
Henry Longhurst, United Kingdom

A weekly columnist for the London Sunday Times for 40 years. He was also considered to be the first golf TV personality providing coverage for the BBC from the 1950s until his death in 1978.
 
“Henry Longhurst did something that no other journalist has done. He proved to be as apt, succinct, colorful, informative and compelling to listen to as he had been to read. He captivated people. He has influenced golf in the same way as many Hall of Fame members. I’m really pleased that we have recognized his achievements.” - John Hopkins
 
Davis Love III, United States

In a career that has spanned four decades on the PGA TOUR, Love has notched 22 victories including the 1997 PGA Championship and two victories at The PLAYERS Championship in 1992 and 2003. His quality of play has earned him a place on six U.S. Ryder Cup teams and six Presidents Cup teams. He has captained two Ryder Cup teams, including the victorious 2016 team.  Love is a recipient of both the Payne Stewart and Bob Jones Awards.

“Davis is a fixture on the PGA TOUR and has been for decades. He has contributed so much to the image of the game because of who he is, and the way he handles himself. Love is extremely well-respected by the other players, so having him contribute his time and energy to making the organization work better has been a very impactful thing. It makes us all smile to see him get the recognition he deserves and be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.” -PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem
 
“Davis has an outstanding record not only as a player but as a gentleman. He’s been a tremendous contributor and has been an all-around man for golf. It’s terrific to see him in the World Golf Hall of Fame.” -Gary Player

Meg Mallon, United States

Her 18 career LPGA Tour victories and four Major Championships are just part of Mallon’s winning make-up. A member of nine Solheim Cup teams (captain in 2013), Mallon was recognized during the LPGA’s 50th Anniversary as one of the LPGA’s top-50 players and teachers. She also earned the Golf Writers Association of America Female Player of the Year award in 1991.
 
“Meg Mallon has been a great player and a great contributor. She has been involved heavily in the game of golf. Everybody likes her; everybody knows what her talent is. She’s just an amazing gal, a fellow Buckeye and great member of the Class of 2017.” -Jack Nicklaus
 
Lorena Ochoa, Mexico

In her first full season on the LPGA Tour, Ochoa had eight top-10 finishes, finished ninth on the LPGA Tour’s money list and was named Rookie of the Year. She finished with 27 victories on the LPGA Tour, including two major championships.  She was ranked World Number One for 158 consecutive weeks (2007-2010). In a three-year stretch (2006-2008), she won 21 tournaments, including the two majors and in 2008, she dominated with wins by as many as 11 strokes on more than one occasion.  Ochoa will be the first Mexican-born golfer to enter into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
 
“Being Mexican myself but being born in the United States, I’ve always been very proud of Lorena Ochoa, what she’s accomplished and the way she’s accomplished it with class and style. She is a role model for Mexican children. They can look at her and say, ‘She did it. Why can’t we?’” -Nancy Lopez
 
“Lorena’s record speaks for itself. In addition to her wins on the LPGA, she also won Player of the Year numerous times. She has so many awards, which just shows how much she contributed to the game. She has reached a demographic that we didn’t see before.” -Annika Sorenstam
 
Ian Woosnam, United Kingdom

“Woosie,” winner of the 1991 Masters Tournament, sat atop the Official World Golf Rankings for 50 weeks throughout 1991 and 1992. His sterling play led him to represent Europe in eight consecutive Ryder Cup teams from 1983 to 1997. Woosnam won the Order of Merit as the leading money winner on the European Tour and named European Player of the Year in 1987 and 1990. In recognition of his contributions to golf, he was awarded the Queen’s honor of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2006.
 
“Woosie got a lot out of his game. He was a great competitor and handled himself very well. He’s been on a lot of Ryder Cup teams and captained quite a bit. He’s been a great contributor to golf from the European side, and I’m delighted to have him inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.” -Jack Nicklaus
 
These five Inductees will bring the total number of World Golf Hall of Fame Members to 155.
 
“Thanks to the hard work and diligence of both the Selection Sub-Committee and the Selection Commission, we have the privilege of bringing in one of our strongest classes to date,” said Jack Peter, President of the World Golf Hall of Fame. “We look forward to an exciting year ahead as we prepare for the Induction Ceremony, which will be hosted appropriately in the ‘city of dreams’ – New York City – this September.”
 
The Class of 2017 was elected by the Hall of Fame’s Selection Commission, which debated a group of 16 Finalists. The five members of the Class of 2017 each passed the required 75 percent voting threshold – approval by at least 12 of the 16 members.
 
The Selection Commission was co-chaired by Hall of Fame Members Nancy Lopez, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam and included the Members of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors and a mix of institutional and at-large seats.
 
The Commission elected the Class of 2017 from 16 Finalists, which were vetted by the Hall of Fame’s Selection Sub-Committee. The Sub-Committee vetted every candidate that met the qualifications of the Hall of Fame’s four Induction categories. It presented the following group of Finalists to the Commission:
 
Candidates                               
Susie Berning   
Johnny Farrell
Max Faulkner
Peggy Kirk Bell
Catherine Lacoste
Henry Longhurst
Davis Love III
Meg Mallon
Graham Marsh
Lorena Ochoa
Sandra Palmer
Calvin Peete
Samuel Ryder
Macdonald Smith
Jan Stephenson
Ian Woosnam

WGHOF Moves Age Minimum To 50, Adds Nicklaus As Voter

This seems like a wise move all around, or one prompted by Tiger (eligible) saying he was not ready to be inducted in 2017.

Either way, two positive moves to improve the World Golf Hall of Fame, bolstered only if other living members under the age of 75 actually turn up for the '17 ceremony in St. Augustine (the old guard has been phenomenal about showing up).

For Immediate Release:

World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum Names Selection Commission Co-Chairs for 2017 Induction Class

Jack Nicklaus Joins Fellow Hall of Fame Member Co-Chairs

Age Change to Induction Criteria also Announced

St. Augustine, FLORIDA (March 30, 2016) – The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum today announced 18-time Major winner Jack Nicklaus will join fellow Hall of Fame Members Nancy Lopez, Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam as Co-Chairs of the Selection Commission for the World Golf Hall of Fame. The Selection Commission will elect the Class of 2017 which will be inducted Monday, May 8, 2017, the week of THE PLAYERS.

Lopez, Player and Sorenstam will return for a second term, while Nicklaus will replace Arnold Palmer and join the process for the first time.
 
“Being elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame, especially with the inaugural class (of 13) in 1974, was one of the unquestioned highlights of my career,” said Nicklaus. “It was a sign of respect and validation for the hard work I put into a game I have always loved and considered the greatest game of all. To now have the opportunity to join the Selection Commission, including my friends Nancy Lopez, Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player—all great players, wonderful people, and all highly respected in our game—gives me the opportunity to perhaps make someone else’s career and life very special with this honor. The Commission is an esteemed group of global leaders in our game, and I am honored to have the opportunity to help them advance the World Golf Hall of Fame and its tremendous work. And it should be a lot of fun along the way.”
 
“We are honored and excited to have Jack Nicklaus join the Selection Commission,” said Jack Peter, President of the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum. “From his storied playing career to his current contributions to the game, he certainly has a firm grasp on the sport’s pulse and will be an incredible asset to the Selection Commission. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Palmer for helping us transition to our new Induction process. He has been, and continues to be, one of the Hall of Fame’s most engaged and insightful supporters.”
 
The Selection Commission will review candidates in four categories: Male and Female Competitor, Veterans and Lifetime Achievement. Later this fall, the Commission will assemble to discuss the merits and vote on the 16 finalists. A candidate must receive at least 75 percent of the vote to be elected. The Class of 2017 will be announced later this fall.
 
Also announced today was a change to the qualifying age for enshrinement. Effective immediately, candidates must be at least 50 years of age at the start of the year in which selections are made, replacing the previous age requirement of 40. The exception would be if a player was at least five years removed from being an active participant on his or her respective Tour.
 
“We work very closely with our Hall of Fame Members to ensure all aspects of the Induction criteria are shrewd and judicious,” added Peter. “As players continue to elevate their fitness levels and continue to play at a high level for a longer period of time, moving the age requirement to 50 ensures that we are able to celebrate their careers at the proper time.”

The Class of 2017 will be inducted on May 8th, the Monday of THE PLAYERS, and the 2019 class will be honored at Pebble Beach the week of the men’s U.S. Open.

WGHOF Hits A Davis-Graham-O'Meara-Tillinghast Superfecta

Hard to argue with the World Golf Hall of Fame's induction of arguably the four most obviously overlooked candidates based on criteria, accomplishments and place in modern golf history.

Ryan Lavner with a summary of the newest names to be enshrined next July at St. Andrews.

For Immediate Release, and note the finalists list also released. Some pretty surprising inclusions and omissions...

World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum welcomes
Davies, Graham, O’Meara and Tillinghast as the Class of 2015
Class will be celebrated at Induction Ceremony on July 13, 2015 at St Andrews
 
St. Augustine, Fla. (Oct. 15, 2014) – Laura Davies, David Graham, Mark O’Meara and A.W. Tillinghast will be enshrined into the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum as the Class of 2015.  The Induction Ceremony will be held on Monday, July 13, 2015 at the University of St Andrews, just blocks from the Old Course, host site of that week’s 144th Open Championship.
 
This is the first Class to be elected by the Hall of Fame’s Selection Commission, which debated a group of 16 Finalists.  The four members of the Class of 2015 each passed the required 75 percent voting threshold – approval by at least 12 of the 16 members.
 
The Selection Commission was co-chaired by Hall of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Annika Sorenstam and included the members of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors and a mix of institutional and at-large seats.
 
“We are thrilled to welcome Laura, David, Mark and A.W. into the World Golf Hall of Fame,” said Tim Finchem, PGA TOUR Commissioner, Selection Commission member and chairman of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors.  “The new selection process provided a thorough examination of the candidates by a diverse, international group and we’re delighted with the outcome.  Congratulations the Class of 2015.”
 
The Commission elected the Class of 2015 from 16 Finalists, which were vetted by the Hall of Fame’s Selection Sub-Committee. The Sub-Committee met earlier this summer and vetted every candidate that met the qualifications of the Hall of Fame’s four Induction categories. It presented the following group of Finalists to the Commission:
 
Candidate                     Category
Laura Davies                 Female Competitor
Johnny Farrell               Male Competitor
Max Faulkner                Veterans
David Graham               Male Competitor
Beverly Hanson             Female Competitor
Catherine Lacoste          Veterans
Henry Longhurst            Lifetime Achievement
Davis Love III                Male Competitor
Meg Mallon                   Female Competitor
Graham Marsh               Male Competitor
Mark O’Meara                Male Competitor
Sandra Palmer              Female Competitor
Calvin Peete                  Veterans
Samuel Ryder               Lifetime Achievement
Jan Stephenson            Female Competitor
A.W. Tillinghast             Lifetime Achievement