And they are determined to beat back the critics that insist their location near St. Augustine, Fla., is a handicap. That argument, of course, is a specious one. Major League Baseballs Hall of Fame is in Cooperstown, New York, a charming part of the world but not exactly on the beaten path. The Pro Football Hall of Fame? Same thing. Its located in Canton, Ohio.
Were still in the awareness stage, says Jack Peter, the COO of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Last week the Hall received an awareness spike when it announced that Vijay Singh will be inducted in November. There were complaints that Singh, 42, will be too young when he enters the Hall. The harshest critics railed that Singhs vote tally took away from the total that would have put a very-deserving Larry Nelson into this years class.
My opinion is this: Nelson, who won three majors and compiled one of the great Ryder Cup records in history, will get into the Hall one day. I also dont believe there is any such thing as a perfect selection system for Halls of Fame or college football national championships.
Peter told me officials at the Hall discuss the age limit for PGA Tour members every year. He said he doesnt expect it to change from its current number of 40 any time soon. We will let this topic simmer, Peter said. But what we dont want to have is any kind of knee jerk reaction.
Sources tell me the Hall will announce another inductee, from its International ballot some time next month. Peter confirmed two more inductees'one from the Lifetime Achievement Category and one from the Veterans Category'will be announced at St. Andrews on Wednesday July 13, the day before the start of this years Open Championship at The Old Course.
Early speculation on the St. Andrews names centers around Brit Peter Alliss and Irishmen Joe Carr and Christy OConnor Sr. Most people know the colorful Alliss from his stylized work on television. Many dont realize he played in eight Ryder Cups. OConnor Sr. remains a legend in European golf circles, famously playing driver off the deck whenever the opportunity arose. Carr won three British Amateurs and, next to Bobby Jones, is arguably the greatest lifetime amateur in the history of the game.
Finally, in case you were wondering, there will be a woman inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame this year as well. Australian Karrie Webb qualified for the Hall through the LPGA point system when she won the U.S. Womens Open in 2000. The second criterion is 10 years of LPGA Service. And she will meet that requirement after she completes her first round at the McDonalds LPGA Championship in June.
Give Peter and his people at the Hall credit for spreading out the timing of these announcements to maximize publicity.
They are getting it. They are beginning to get a little more face time in the media that right now they need more than the media needs them.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt