PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Is the World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony up for a significant overhaul?
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said the World Golf Foundation is open to reviewing everything from the date of the event to the age eligibility for induction to the voting process.
“I think it's timely to take a look at everything we're doing and take a fresh look,” Finchem said in his annual news conference at The Players Championship. “We haven't done that in several years. So we're going to look at everything and have more to say about it probably later this year.”
Monday’s induction ceremony lacked a strong presence of past inductees. Only eight Hall of Fame members were introduced on the stage at the start of the induction, and they were all LPGA members. Also, few current PGA Tour players attended Monday’s ceremony even though it was a short drive from the TPC Sawgrass facility to the World Golf Village.
“It does raise a question in my mind about whether this is the best time of year to do it,” Finchem said. “It was a phenomenal ceremony. It's a very compelling night. But if you do it this week or the week of any big tournament, the golf interest is kind of split, so there are three or four things about that, that we're looking at, and that's one of them.”
To be eligible for induction, players must only be 40 years old. It has created awkward inductions with Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els going into the Hall of Fame when they’re still very competitive. Els won the British Open after being inducted. Also, there are growing questions about the voting process. Fred Couples and Colin Montgomerie were elected this year despite garnering only 51 percent of the vote when 65 percent is required. The Hall of Fame, however, has a special provision that if nobody gains the minimum vote for election, the highest vote-getter can be inducted, provided he pulls at least 50 percent of vote.
In another voting issue, Finchem was asked why there is separate PGA Tour voting and International voting when it’s a “World Golf Hall of Fame.”
“Those are things seriously under discussion,” Finchem said.