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WGHOF to use committees to determine inductees

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The World Golf Hall of Fame will now use a 20-person Selection Sub-Committee and 16-person Selection Commission to determine who will be inducted every two years.

Instead of an open vote among golf journalists, historians and dignitaries, a 20-person Selection Sub-Committee will nominate the finalists who will then be voted on by a 16-person Selection Committee that includes some of the game's biggest names. The Sub-Committee will review all those eligible for consideration, narrowing the list down to 10. That group will then be distributed to all Hall of Fame members, who will select five finalists from both the male and female categories. The five names are then sent to the Selection Commission for a final vote.

To be elected, a player must receive at least 75 percent of the vote (16 of 20). Previously, election required 65 percent of returned ballots.

Among the other notable changes that were announced Sunday by the Hall of Fame:

• For a male to be eligible: at least 15 victories in International Federation of PGA Tour events, or two majors/Players titles. Previously, an inductee must have at least 10 wins and/or two majors/Players titles. He also must be 40 at the start of the year in which the selection is made.

• For a woman to be eligible: at least 15 wins on Rolex Ranking tours, or two major titles. The 27-point system still exists, though it remains highly unlikely that a player could be inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame but not the World Golf Hall of Fame. She also must be 40 at the start of the year in which the selection is made.

• The next World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be Monday, May 4, 2015. The induction will then be held every two years.

• There are four categories: male and female competitors, veterans and lifetime achievement. No category will have more than two inductees in any class, and no more than five total.

• Nominees in the veterans category need to have played primarily before 1975, but there is no minimum victory requirement and both amateurs and professionals will be eligible. 

The 16-person Selection Commission will be comprised of: four co-chairs who are Hall of Fame members (this year, they are Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Nancy Lopez and Annika Sorenstam); nine institutional seats that include the Hall of Fame Board of Directors: George O’Grady, Mike Whan, Pete Bevacqua, Tim Finchem, Will Jones, Peter Dawson and Mike Davis. Also, Derek Lawrenson, chair of the AGW, and Ron Sirak, the Golf Writers Association of America president, will be on the committee. Two of the three at-large seats will be the chair of the Japan LPGA (Hiromi Kobayashi) and executive director of the Sunshine Tour (Selwyn Nathan). The AGW and GWAA will agree on a third at-large media member (John Hopkins this year). Co-chairs and at-large members serve two-year terms. 

The 20-person Selection Sub-Committee is chaired by Jack Peter, the COO of the World Golf Hall of Fame. The seven institutional seats are filled by Richard Hills (European Tour), Heather Daly-Donofrio (LPGA), Julius Mason (PGA of America), Charlie Zink (PGA Tour), Angela Howe (R&A), Ron Cross (The Masters) and Rand Jarris (USGA). The 13 at-large seats include six Hall of Fame members (Peter Alliss, Beth Daniel, Carol Mann, Johnny Miller, Curtis Strange and Karrie Webb); two members of the International Federation of PGA Tour (Ivan Khodabakhsh and Andy Yamanaka); and five at-large members, David Fay, Alastair Johnston, Lewine Mair, Pete McDaniel and Ty Votaw.