The World Golf Hall of Fame announced Wednesday two significant changes to its induction process: Candidates now must be at least 50 years old, and Jack Nicklaus has replaced Arnold Palmer on the selection committee.
The previous minimum age for induction was 40, creating an awkward dynamic for a player (Phil Mickelson recently comes to mind) who was enshrined while still playing high-level golf. Tiger Woods turned 40 last December. An exception to this change would be if a player was at least five years removed from competition.
“As players continue to elevate their fitness levels and continue to play at a high level for a longer period of time, moving the age requirement to 50 ensures that we are able to celebrate their careers at the proper time,” said Jack Peter, president of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Nicklaus, meanwhile, joins Nancy Lopez, Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam as co-chairs on the selection committee. They will elect the Class of 2017, to be announced later this fall.
The selection committee reviews candidates in four categories: male and female competitors, veterans and lifetime achievement. A candidate must receive at least 75 percent of the vote to be inducted.
The Class of 2017 will be inducted on May 8, 2017, during the week of The Players.