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World Golf Hall of Fame

On March 23, 2014, the World Golf Hall of Fame introduced new criteria for election into Golf’s most hallowed Hall.

Those changes are as follows:

The new process will include 4 categories under which an individual may be considered for Induction: Male and Female Competitor Categories and the Veterans and Lifetime Achievement Categories.

At the moment there are no male or female categories and the majority of the voting body is male which can balance the scales unfairly.

The new election process starts with the 4 Selection Sub-Committees meeting this spring to debate the candidates in all 4 categories.  Each Sub-Committee consists of 4 members and the 4 committees are chaired by Hall of Fame members Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Nancy Lopez and Annika Sorenstam.  The Sub-Committees will then present 5 male and 5 female finalists, and 3 each in the Veteran and Lifetime Achievement categories.  There will be a maximum of 5 players total in each election class and those entering the Hall must have 75% of the vote to do so.  The event will also become biennial, like the Ryder Cup to create more anticipation and excitement. 

“The Male and Female Competitor Categories” will have similar criteria for qualification: a player must have 15 or more official victories on approved tours or at least two victories among approved Major events and a player must be 40 years of age or older.  Now while the actual ‘letter of the law’ states 15 tournaments or 2 Majors, most people think that it really means 15 tournaments and 2 Majors.

This perhaps is the best addition because it changes the Hall from the Hall of Very Good to the Hall of the Best.  Under this criteria (assuming the criteria are actually 15 wins and 2 Majors) neither Fred Couples (15 PGA Tour wins, 1 Major) nor Colin Montgomerie (31 victories on the European Tour but winless in the US and with no Majors), who were enshrined in 2013, would be members.  

The Veterans Category will include players whose careers were primarily completed before 1975, and the Lifetime Achievement Category will continue to be made up of individuals who contributed to the game from outside of the competitive arena.

The LPGA’s version of the Hall may be the most difficult in any sport to get into.  The LPGA requires a player to acquire 27 points to earn induction. One point is awarded for every LPGA Tour win, two points for a Major Championship and one point for a Player of the Year award and the Vare Trophy (player with the lowest scoring average over the course of a year).

There are quite a few LPGA stars who have not qualified for the LPGA’s Hall of Fame, who will now be immediately eligible for the World Golf Hall of Fame.  Tops on that list are still active 50 year old English star, Laura Davies who is just one agonizing point short with 26 points.  Davies, however, is almost assured of being voted into the LPGA’s Hall by virtue of her incredible 64 victories around the world in addition to her 20 LPGA wins (she has won 4 Majors).

Retired US stars, Meg Mallon has 18 LPGA Tour wins which include 4 Majors, and Dottie Pepper who recorded 17 victories on the Tour including two Majors, also become eligible as do two of Bird Golf’s amazing teachers.

Mary Mills Bird Golf’s East Coast Director of Instruction, won 9 times on Tour but numbered 3 Majors (the US Open and two LPGA Championships) in her amazing career. Sandra Palmer who teaches on the West Coast, was a 19-time winner who won 2 Majors (The Titleholders Championship and the US Open).    

It will be interesting to see who the Selection committees come up with later this year, but we know who we’re rooting for!