Hall of Fame needs separate wing for golf's ultimates

By Jason SobelSeptember 20, 2012, 7:40 pm

ATLANTA – There was mild outrage in some circles when it was announced Wednesday that Fred Couples will become the newest inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Not from me. I voted for the guy. In my opinion, Freddie's impact on the game transcended his statistical record. His presence brought more fans to tournaments and in turn helped to grow the game.

But I can understand the other side, too. Couples has 15 wins and one major title. His buddy, Davis Love III, has 20 wins and a major, but hasn't been voted in yet. If you look solely at the numbers, the guy nicknamed “Boom Boom” may have needed a little more bang-bang to be a no-brainer.

All of which leads to the crux of the argument for those dissenters. Their contention is that Couples doesn't belong amongst the likes of Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus.

So here's my idea: Don't put 'em together.

No, I'm not suggesting stripping Couples of the honor before he's even inducted. I'm proposing that others be elevated to another level.

Allow me to present … The Legends Wing of the World Golf Hall of Fame. 

What would it be? Exactly what it sounds like. While the Hall of Fame is reserved for the best of the best, the Legends Wing would be home to the best of the best of the best. In golf terms, it would separate the game’s all-time greats into an A flight and a B flight.

“We’ve had different ideas of how to reorganize and recreate story ideas,” said Jack Peter, COO of the World Golf Hall of Fame. “But nothing quite like that.”

Well, it’s time. This is a win-win situation for everyone involved.

The game’s all-time greats no longer have to suffer in the company of menial underachievers with a meager two or three major titles to their names.

The fans are afforded an opportunity to celebrate these legends all over again, not only figuratively but literally within the confines of the museum.

The HOF itself becomes more relevant and – dare I say it – even groundbreaking, perhaps serving as a forerunner for similar separation in the halls of other sports.

“One of the immediate questions I have is the separation,” Peter explains when posed the idea. “I don’t know how you separate Hall of Fame members from Hall of Fame members. It gets back to the conversations we’ve always had. How do you compare eras? Was it harder? Easier? More difficult to achieve victories? It would be an interesting exercise to bat that around.”

Therein lies the best part of this entire idea. It would inspire debate amongst the masses of golf fans worldwide.

Let’s say the inaugural class features a foursome of legends – golf’s edition of Mount Rushmore, if you will. Who gets the call? Nicklaus? Hogan? Jones? Could Tiger Woods skip past the regular HOF and go straight into the Legends Wing? Or would we need to give a nod to an original like Old Tom Morris instead?

It would serve as an endless source of conjecture and examination in 19th holes everywhere.

And isn’t that exactly the purpose of a Hall of Fame? It should honor those who were the best in their field, but also provide a forum in which the rest of can celebrate their careers and scrutinize their place in history.

Does Gene Sarazen get through the doors into the Legends Wing? How about Billy Casper? Lee Trevino? You want some real adamant debates? Here’s one more name to ponder: Phil Mickelson.

Of course, I’m just the idea man. I don’t deal in logistical issues. As Peter points out, it would be difficult to procure the funding for such a project and create space within the current museum.

Hey, nobody said this was going to be easy. It will be worth it, though.

Just think: Arnold Palmer could be part of a “re-induction” ceremony. Gary Player could hold court when he’s part of a similar process.

The game of golf does such an excellent job of celebrating its heroes and remembering their place in history. This would be one more way of continuing that tradition.

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.