Ford bypassed again by HOF

By Randall MellApril 23, 2009, 4:00 pm
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World Golf Hall of FameDoug Ford wasnt a great driver of the ball, but he was one of the straightest shooters who ever played the PGA Tour.
 
In other words, he didnt mince words.
 
Its what people grew to love and loathe about the best (eligible) player who isnt in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
 
At 86, Ford watched yet another Hall of Fame announcement pass Thursday without his election. He doesnt understand why, and he took dead aim explaining how he feels as if hes being excluded.
 
Ill put my record up against just about anyones in the hall, Ford said in a telephone interview from his home in Gulf Stream, Fla. I think I have a hell of a record. I dont know what theyre looking for. I dont know what the knock on me is, but Im just not that enthused about it anymore. If they dont appreciate what Ive done, I cant do anything about it.
 
Lanny Wadkins was the only World Golf Hall of Fame inductee announced Thursday, but Ford gained some momentum toward eventual induction.
 
Wadkins was named by 61 percent of the voters. That Ford is the best (eligible) player not in the Hall of Fame is evident in the fact that he finished second in this years voting. He was named on 46 percent of the ballots with Mark OMeara next on 31 percent. Last year, Ford was named on just 35 percent.
 
Still, Ford wonders if hell die before he gets in.
 
If they ever select me, I might not accept, because of the way theyve handled this, Ford said. My two boys think I should, but I dont know. If I do (get selected), well see.
 
That feisty, combative nature is integral to what made Ford one of the best players of the 50s, an era that included Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Julius Boros, Cary Middlecoff and Arnold Palmer. That nature also might be what cost Ford a quick induction.
 
With two major championships among his 19 PGA Tour victories, Ford was inducted into the PGA Hall of Fame in 1975. He was selected by a vote of his peers. When the PGA Hall of Fame merged with the World Golf Hall of Fame in the 80s, only the PGA inductees with dual member standing were brought into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Ford wasnt one of them.
 
Bob Goalby, the 1968 Masters winner and a good friend to Ford, thinks Fords combative nature might have hurt him after the halls were merged. Ford was a member of a number of PGA Tour player committees and was forever waging battles with the Tour.
 
The way I look at it, Im already a Hall of Famer, Ford said. The players voted you into the PGA Hall of Fame. They knew your record and what golf was all about. I dont even know who votes today.
 
There are two ways Ford could be voted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, through a vote by the World Golf Hall of Fames PGA Tour Voting Body or through the Veterans Category.
 
The PGA Tour Voting Body is made up of more than 200 journalists, historians and golf dignitaries. Election requires being named on 65 percent of the returned ballots, or in the event nobody garners that many votes, to be the leading vote getter while appearing on at least 50 percent of the ballots.
 
To make it through the Veterans Category, Ford would have to be selected by members of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors Selection Committee, a body made up of representatives of seven major golf organizations (Augusta National, European Tour, LPGA, PGA Tour, PGA, the R&A and the USGA).
 
Its always been a mystery to us why dads not in the Hall of Fame, said Doug Ford Jr., a golf teacher at Deer Creek Country Club in Deerfield Beach, Fla. Dads credited with 19 PGA Tour victories, two majors and being on four Ryder Cup teams. That should speak for itself. When you look at players who have gone in recently, their record is not as good as dads, some arent event close. Im not saying those players shouldnt be in, just that dads very deserving.'
 
Tom Kite was elected despite fewer majors (1) and fewer PGA Tour victories (18) than Ford. So was Tommy Bolt (1 major, 15 PGA Tour titles). Bob Charles and Gene Littler made the Hall of Fame with just a single major and Chi Chi Rodriguez without a major.
 
Goalby said Fords battles with the tour couldnt have helped his cause.
 
Its a travesty Dougs not in, Goalby said. Evidently, he alienated some people. Doug grew up in New York. He never gave anybody any quarter. He had to be the first on the bus, the first to get off, the first to pick up his check. Its the way he grew up in New York, but he was respected by his peers. He was always fighting the tour for the underdog. I think his being outspoken hurt him.
 
Goalby said the fact that Ford played long past his prime, especially while posting high scores at the Masters, may have hurt his chances of election in later years.
 
People who didnt know how great he was saw him play after his game slipped, Goalby said.
 
In his prime, Ford won with grit and guts and a fabulous short game. He won the 1955 PGA Championship, beating Middlecoff in the match play final, and the 57 Masters, coming from behind in the final round to beat Snead.
 
Its a disgrace Doug isnt in the Hall of Fame, said Al Besselink, a seven-time PGA Tour winner from Fords era. Doug was very stubborn, very honest, and he was never going to kiss anyones butt to get in the Hall of Fame, but I thought he was a wonderful guy who was unbelievable under pressure. He was a magician around the greens. He could get up and down from a ball washer.
 
Besselink and Goalby hope Fords skill will be remembered one year soon in the Hall of Fame.

Thompson wins Race, loses tournament after short miss

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 8:52 pm

The drama went down to the very last hole in the LPGA's final event of 2017. Here's how things ended up at the CME Group Tour Championship, where a surprising miss from Lexi Thompson opened the door for Ariya Jutanugarn to win in dramatic fashion:

Leaderboard: Ariya Jutanugarn (-15), Lexi Thompson (-14), Jessica Korda (-14), Pernilla Lindberg (-13), Eun-Hee Ji (-13)

What it means: There were scenarios aplenty entering the final round, with nearly every season-long accolade still hanging in the balance. Thompson appeared set to take them all as she sized up a 2-foot par putt on the final hole - a stroke that looked like it would take her to world No. 1 for the first time. Instead, the putt barely touched the hole and allowed Jutanugarn to rally to victory with birdies on the closing two holes. Thompson still took home $1 million for winning the season-long Race to the CME Globe, as it was a reverse scenario from last year when Jutanugarn won the $1 million but not the final tournament.

Round of the day: Sei Young Kim made the day's biggest charge, turning in a 6-under 66 to close the week in a share of 11th at 10 under. Kim made eight birdies during the final round, including five over her first eight holes en route to her lowest round of the week while erasing a third-round 75.

Best of the rest: Jutanugarn seemed like an afterthought as the tournament was winding down, but she kept her hopes alive with an 18-foot birdie on No. 17 and then capitalized on Thompson's mistake with a clutch birdie on the difficult final hole. It capped off a final-round 67 for the Thai who now ends what has been a tumultuous season with a smile on her face.

Biggest disappointment: Thompson faced heartbreak after the penalty-shrouded ANA Inspiration, and she again must handle a setback after essentially missing a tap-in with everything on the line. Thompson can enjoy a $1 million consolation prize along with the Vare Trophy, but a tournament win would have clinched Player of the Year honors as well as her first-ever trip to world No. 1. Instead, she now has the entire off-season to think about how things went awry from close range.

Shot of the day: There were only three birdies on No. 18 during the final round before Jutanugarn laced one down the fairway and hit a deft approach to 15 feet. The subsequent putt found the target and gave her win No. 7 on her young LPGA career.

Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

"I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

"I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.