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WGHOF: Decision-making now 'in the right hands'

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ORLANDO, Fla. – The almost 300 golf journalists, historians and dignitaries that comprised the voting body for the World Golf Hall of Fame no longer will have a say in which players are admitted. 

Under the new format, announced in a news conference here Sunday at Bay Hill, a 20-person Sub-Committee will nominate finalists to be voted on by a 16-person Selection Commission that includes some of the biggest names in the game, including Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Nancy Lopez and Annika Sorenstam.

“We believe it puts the decision-making of who gets into the Hall of Fame in the right hands,” said Jack Peter, the chief operating officer of the Hall of Fame. “Individuals who know the history of the game, have a passion for the game, who knows the player, who understand the qualities that make up a Hall of Famer.”

When asked what prompted the shift in the selection process, he said: “The current voting body of almost 300 people was beginning to get a bit unwieldy. It was becoming a bit of a challenge for us to continually scrub the list, make sure that there were qualified golf writers on the voting body. We felt that this was just a better way to ensure that the right people who truly know about the game of golf can be making this decision.”

Said Player: “When you’ve got hundreds of people voting, I don’t think you can come to the right conclusion.”

Instead of an open vote, the media now will be represented by Derek Lawrenson, president of the Association of Golf Writers, Ron Sirak, president of the Golf Writers Association of America, and at-large member John Hopkins.

“It wasn’t done because there was something really broken with the other system,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. “The Hall of Famers are must more directly involved in the process, and we think that will translate to more interest in the results of the process as we forward. We liked the old system. But we like this one better.”