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Goosen's inclusion highlights Hall of Fame shortfalls

By Rex HoggardOctober 10, 2018, 1:32 pm

The best thing about each new World Golf Hall of Fame class is the inevitable debates.

You know the deal: you are what your record says you are, and either your resume is worthy of a locker in St. Augustine, Fla., or it’s not. For most rational people this is simple math.

There are exceptions. Former Augusta National chairman Billy Payne, trick-shot artist and motivational speaker Dennis Walters, and women’s golf advocate and former LPGA tour player Peggy Kirk Bell were all voted into the Class of 2019 on Wednesday under the Lifetime Achievements category, which takes a more esoteric view of a person’s contributions to the game.

The Competitors categories, however, are about the numbers. It’s the wonderful art of quantifying greatness, from counting victories to money titles and even a player’s record in team competitions. These parameters are written into the Hall’s selection criteria with the threshold for consideration set at a minimum of 15 international victories or at least two major triumphs (a list that includes The Players, which is a debate for another day).

Technically Retief Goosen qualifies under those rules. Although the South African has just seven victories on the PGA Tour, including the 2001 and ’04 U.S. Opens, he’s also collected 24 other titles along the way like the ’92 Spoornet Classic on the Sunshine Tour.

This isn’t personal. There is no debate that Goosen’s career has been impressive, but has it been a Hall of Fame career? A colleague said it best a few years ago: it’s the Hall of Great, not the Hall of Good – or in Goosen’s case the Hall of Really Good.

Photo gallery: World Golf Hall of Fame, Class of 2019

When it comes to this type of Hall of Fame debate it’s not so much what Goosen has, or has not, accomplished as much as it is a benchmark for other players with similar records.

What does this mean for John Daly, who probably is not atop many lists as a potential Hall of Famer? Yet if we’re comparing resumes consider that Daly has five Tour victories and two major championships, 1991 PGA and ’95 Open Championship.

Or how about Andy North? Although one of the game’s best on-air analyst only won three times on Tour his two major triumphs (the ’78 and ’85 U.S. Opens) speak volumes.

And how, if Goosen’s resume is the new benchmark, is a player like Dave Stockton, Sr. not in the Hall? Stockton has more Tour victories (10) and the same number of majors (two) as Goosen. What about Mark Calcavecchia (13 victories and the ’89 Open Championship) and Paul Azinger (12 Tour victories and the ’93 PGA)?

Hall of Fame debates are delicious ways to pass the time, but there must be some sort of reason to each selection, and Goosen’s selection to the ’19 Class, which also includes LPGA legend Jan Stephenson, stretches the boundaries of that reason.

“It was a little bit of a shock. You sort of forget what you’ve done in the game, but I’m glad what I’ve done in the game has brought me to this position,” Goosen said Wednesday on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive.”

Goosen wasn’t the only one who was shocked by his selection, but then curious choices are very much a byproduct of the current selection process. In 2014 the Hall of Fame transformed the selection process by creating a 16-member Selection Committee that included the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Nancy Lopez, Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam. Of those 16 members, Goosen only needed 75 percent of the vote, which means that a dozen people, however qualified, now decide what is Hall-worthy.

“We came to the conclusion that as the landscape of media coverage continues to evolve and change around the world, we felt that the voting, the current voting body of almost 300 people was beginning to get a bit unwieldy,” Jack Peter, the Hall of Fame president, said of the changes in 2014.

It’s curious that the World Golf Hall of Fame found “almost 300” votes cumbersome, but the Baseball Hall of Fame, which is by most accounts the gold standard in the category, voted Chipper Jones into the Class of 2019 with 410 votes (which was 97 percent of the ballots).

Again, this is simple math. More voters and more ballots mean that potential Hall of Fame nominees are being pulled from a greater pool of knowledge and that there’s far less of a chance for individual preferences and potential personality conflicts to factor into the decision.

Whether Goosen is deserving of a spot in the Hall of Fame isn’t really the issue here. What is up for debate is where the standards are now being set for future classes and how those decisions are being made.

At best golf’s Hall of Fame suffers from a severe lack of transparency, and at worst an image problem with the organization increasingly starting to feel like a popularity contest. Either way, those aren’t the type of debates that normally make an announcement like Wednesday’s one of the most compelling conversations of the year.

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Davies leads Inkster after Day 1 of Senior LPGA Champ.

By Associated PressOctober 16, 2018, 1:10 am

FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Laura Davies opened with a 4-under 68 despite finishing with two bogeys Monday, giving her a one-shot lead over Juli Inkster after Round 1 of the Senior LPGA Championship.

Davies, who earlier this year won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open, had a lost ball on the par-5 18th hole on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort. She still salvaged a bogey in chilly, windy weather that had the 55-year-old from England bundled up in a blanket between shots.

Inkster, runner-up to Davies at the Senior Women's Open, made eagle on the closing hole for a 69.

Jane Crafter was at 70. Defending champion Trish Johnson opened with a 73.

Temperatures were in the high 40s, but the damp air and wind made it feel even colder.

Inkster made a bogey on the 17th hole by missing the green with a 9-iron.

''As old as I am, I still get made and I crushed that drive on 18,'' said Inkster, who followed with a 3-wood to 15 feet to set up her eagle.

The 54-hole event concludes Wednesday.

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Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 9:14 pm

After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.

Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”

Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.

Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.

His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.

“When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”

Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

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Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.

Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

“The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

“The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

Pay per view does that.

“You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.