Bryan Angus asked me on his Fairways show on NextSportStar Monday morning what I thought of the changes to the selection process for the World Golf Hall of Fame and my immediate reply was that it’s a new way to generate controversy in golf.
If you haven’t heard, a selection commission of 16 people including Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Nancy Lopez and Annika Sorenstam will consider candidates instead of holding a vote by media members and golf officials on certain ballots.
Candidates in the male and female categories must have at least 15 wins on approved tours or at least two major victories, including the Players Championship, even if isn’t an official major.
Initial response to the changes were mostly positive because it made the process less cumbersome with fewer people involved and, at least at first glance, more difficult, particularly on the men’s side, to be inducted.
Certainly, there had been controversy surrounding the inductions of the popular Fred Couples, who had 15 PGA Tour wins, but the 1992 Masters was his only major victory, even if he did win the Players Championship twice.
Colin Montgomerie, who dominated in Europe and Ryder Cup play, but never won a major, was also the centre of controversy when he was named to the hall. For more on that, click here.
While some hailed the recent changes, Rex Hoggard of the Golf Channel felt it took an inclusive voting process and turned it over to an exclusive club, a familiar criticism in golf. You can read Hoggard’s thoughts here.
Before the announcement was made on the weekend, GNN blogger Mike Schurman suggested a points system for induction. You can read his thoughts here.
When it comes to halls of fame, there is no definitive answer on how to choose inductees for the simple reason that everybody has a different opinion on how to do it and which players cross the line between good and great.
Even the great can be contentious picks. When Phil Mickelson was inducted into the hall at age 41, it was an obvious choice, but there was concern among some that he was too young, even if the minimum age was 40, which it still is after the recent announcement.
You know Tiger Woods will be going in immediately once he turns 40, assuming the minimum age stays the way it is, and even the choice of Mike Weir, despite winning the 2003 Masters, was a contentious choice to the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame because of his age.
I’ve stated my own opinion on that subject several times and still believe if somebody has earned it, put him or her in and let that person enjoy the rewards of an outstanding career, but many disagree. That’s the way it goes with halls of fame.
Following Hoggard’s line of thinking, the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame has an inclusive process in which members of the public, the golf industry or media can nominate a potential candidate to be decided by a selection committee.
When four-time LPGA Tour winner Lorie Kane and a few other names weren’t included with Stephen Ames, who rightfully did get in this year, the system was criticized again, even though the critics hadn’t used their right to nominate Kane and the others themselves.
Some feel the Canadian selection committee should make the decisions on its own, with no need for public input, or at least be able to throw someone’s name into the mix if there’s a glaring omission.
These are just some of the things that come up when considering players. It’s a much more subjective process when considering builders.
One thing is clear.
No matter which process you use to select inductees, there will as often as not be controversy.