Did HOF fix its 'unwieldy' process with new criteria?

By Rex HoggardMarch 26, 2014, 5:03 pm

For a game that lives and dies with its numbers – be they on scorecards, points lists or world rankings – this one doesn’t add up.

The new selection process for the World Golf Hall of Fame, Hall chief operating officer Jack Peter explained on Sunday at Bay Hill, was the byproduct of a system that had become too “unwieldy.”

“We looked at this deep and we looked at this wide and we looked at this from a variety of different angles,” Peter explained. “And we came to the conclusion that as the landscape of media coverage continues to evolve and change around the world, we felt that the current voting body of almost 300 people was beginning to get a bit unwieldy.”

As a result, a system that had included some 300 voices, many of whom were media types but also included members of the Hall of Fame and various golf administrators, has been whittled to a commission of 16.

Full disclosure, while we lament the loss of the golf writer’s voice in the selection process, this is not personal. Your scribe has never had a Hall of Fame vote, only an interest in the institution and the incongruities in Peter’s explanation.

The new 16-member commission – which includes Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Annika Sorenstam and Nancy Lopez, as well as three golf writers – is the Hall’s answer to that “unwieldy” balloting process.

Lost in this explanation, however, are the facts.

While golf’s Hall seems to struggle with the simple math of an up-or-down vote from 300 selectors, the Baseball Hall of Fame – arguably the benchmark for all sport’s Halls – seamlessly manages nearly twice as many votes.

For the 2014 Hall of Fame class bound for enshrinement, 571 votes were cast and Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas were granted entry into Cooperstown, N.Y. It’s difficult to argue with those results or the math.

“There would be people who argue that the baseball writers aren’t as inclusive as they should be, like radio and TV announcers are not included. But within the confines of the writers we are very inclusive,” said Joe Posnanski, a columnist for NBCSports.com and a baseball Hall of Fame voting member.

The vote for the annual Heisman Trophy is even more “unwieldy.” In 2013, 928 ballots were cast, including 870 from members of the media, to select Florida State’s Jameis Winston. Heisman officials even added a fan vote to the balloting in 1999.

Pro Football’s Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, may be the closest model to golf’s new selection process, but it is still more inclusive than what the folks in St. Augustine, Fla., concocted.

For enshrinement into the football Hall, nominees are chosen by a 46-person selection committee comprised of 33 media members and 13 at-large delegates, a group made up mostly of current of Hall of Fame members.

Among the other sweeping changes made to golf’s induction process, the minimum requirements for male players to receive consideration for induction were increased to 15 international victories or two majors or Players Championships.

Davis Love III, a likely candidate for induction when the new commission meets later this year, is as good a reason as any to make the process more inclusive, not less so.

“The LPGA Hall of Fame was so strict. How do you know 20 years from now it might be hard to win 30 tournaments, so putting a number on it is kind of restrictive,” Love said. “That’s why it might be good for 400 people to vote on it because they kind of know who is eligible for the Hall of Fame without putting certain numbers on it.”

Nor does it seem likely the new system, as some have suggested, will help alleviate the politics from the selection process. With such a small sample – an inductee needs 75 percent, or 12 of 16, of the commission’s vote – the likelihood of a “personal” conflict is magnified.

“Those veteran’s committees (for baseball’s Hall of Fame) were about the same size and they turned out to be extremely political,” Posnanski said. “Small panels have tendency to be like that.”

Officials also hope the new system will inspire current Hall of Famers to become more involved in the selection process and by default the induction ceremony, which hasn’t exactly been a must-see event in recent years. Yet the new selection system, which includes just four members of the Hall, limits their voices just as much it does the media.

In a letter sent this week to the 300 or so former voters, Peter explained the new process and thanked everyone for their “support, passion and dedication over the years.”

“Your involvement has been extremely valuable and I sincerely appreciate the time each of you have given to this great institution,” he wrote.

While the letter was well intended, it came off sounding like a pink slip and a numbers game that just doesn’t add up.

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry