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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The WGHoF Finally Admits They're Confused

Despite what Gary Player says in the commercial, no matter how much the players love golf, nobody's gotta go in 2014.

At least, nobody's going INTO the World Golf Hall of Fame. There will be no inductees next year.

I've got links to a number of short articles here:
These give you a pretty good idea of just why the WGHoF has no clear idea what they should do. It's not really clear what they're doing right now!

Let's see... to get in as a PGA Tour pro you have to be at least 40 years old, a member for 10 years, and have at least 10 PGA Tour wins, two majors or two Players titles. (And yes, from what I can find, that's 10 wins OR 2 majors OR 2 TPCs. Given what I hear when they discuss possible inductees on TV, I thought they needed 16 or 17 wins with at least 2 majors.)

To get in from the Champions Tour you have to be a member for 5 years and -- it gets a bit tricky here -- 20 wins on the PGA and Champions tours combined OR five majors (regular and/or senior) and TPC wins.

And in each case, that's just to get on a ballot. Then they have criteria for how many votes you have to get... and apparently voters are getting upset over those. In fact, it appears the voters are upset over who gets a vote in the first place.

The LPGA uses 10-year membership and a points system for the qualifying criteria, which eliminates voters entirely.

And the International criteria (for both males and females) uses both points AND voters.

I don't even want to think about the potential for confusion in the Lifetime Achievement or Veterans categories, which are totally in the hands of the WGHoF Board of Directors.

According to the reports I heard, the WGHoF isn't even sure WHEN they should do the inductions anymore! (Currently they're done during TPC week.)

To be honest, I don't see any easy solution to their problems. How can you reconcile such divergent induction criteria when NONE of the individual categories seems happy as is? I doubt voters will go for a pure points system, and I doubt the points qualifiers will want to trust their fates to the unquesionably biased opinions of voters. Since the International category already uses both points and voters but still isn't happy, it's hard to believe any of the other groups will accept a combined system.

And can you see ANY of them giving the final choice to the WGHoF Board of Directors? I think not.

If it has to be points or votes, I favor a points system -- there's no favoritism involved there -- and letting players who don't qualify on points get a second chance based on votes. I also think the LPGA points system is a bit too demanding -- it only requires one major OR POY award OR Vare Trophy (that's their scoring award) but doesn't give any of those any real weight. Regular events get 1 point... but so do the POY or Vare (that's probably about right), and a major only gets 2 points (that should probably be 3 points). And let's face it, debates over the relative weight of each would probably never satisfy anybody.

Personally, I'd rather see a simple list of requirements for all Tours, and then perhaps add something that's unique to each Tour that could substitute for a standard requirement. Perhaps they could require 10 wins plus 2 majors as basic criteria and adjust from there.

For example, you might allow one substitution of a yearly trophy for one regular win... but not 2 of the same trophy for 2 wins. For example, if you won 2 Vare trophies and 3 POY awards in your career, you could count 1 Vare as a win and 1 POY as a win but not the other 3 trophies. Allowance could be made for a spectacular achievement, such as Colin Montgomerie's 8-time win of the Order of Merit or any of Tiger's 9-time or 11-time awards. Those kinds of achievements should be worth something extra.

I fear that the big task for the WGHoF will be to make new standards that are actually reasonable. With people making stupid arguments like "a major is worth a TPC and 2 WGCs plus other wins" as they did with Tiger's 5 wins this season, it's hard to believe the Hall will be able to please anybody. Who knows? If the process drags out, we may not see any new inductions for a couple of years... or more.

But in the end, I guess something's gotta go. Good luck, WGHoF.

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