Couples takes Hall-of-Fame criticism in stride
Opinions exist in golf at every level, but when a Hall of Famer speaks up on a topic, you can guarantee it will get a second or third look.
Raymond Floyd, inducted in 1989 into the World Golf Hall of Fame, definitely garnered some attention after recently commenting on the criteria - or lack thereof - of getting into golf's shrine.
The odd part? Floyd essentially was commenting on the pending induction of his good friend Fred Couples. Floyd believes the current criteria allow a golfer with a less-than-stellar resume to be enshrined.
“I'll just say that you should have at least two majors,” Floyd told Golf.com. “At least! Wow, there are guys in there that it's a joke. It takes integrity away from the term 'Hall of Fame.' I'm very upset at the Hall of Fame.”
Floyd had four major titles among his 22 Tour victories.
Couples, playing in the Northern Trust Open this week at Riviera Country Club for the 31st time, took Floyd’s comments in stride. Aware of the criticism from Floyd and others since being named to the hall, Couples points to the fact that he didn’t put his name on the ballot, nor did he have a vote.
With one major among his 15 Tour victories, including two Players Championships, Couples is comfortable with his legacy - hall or not.
“I can understand Raymond's point,” Couples said. “Andy North won two majors. I look at Andy North as an unbelievable player. Anyone who can win a major, let alone two, and only have three wins, and I know John Daly has won two majors; I don't know if he's ever going to get in the Hall of Fame. But if he does, I'm not going to sit there and make a comment on it. I think it's important that you win enough tournaments. I've only won 15 times. It's not like I've won 20. I don't even know what the criteria is.”
That might be part of the problem. The LPGA has a strict criterion for induction that takes the vote out of it. At the very least, a guideline would be great, but with Couples going in with his record and Colin Montgomerie being inducted with no majors and no wins on the PGA Tour, it seems no specific criteria exist.
“I know you're voted to get in, but you've got to cross the line of two majors, 20 wins and you're 40 years old, so there's a few factual things about it, then you can be considered,” Hall-of-Famer Nick Faldo said in agreeing with Floyd's comments. “In theory, if you've done your two majors and 20 wins, you don't need a committee.”
Faldo went on to say that the special nature of the hall is being lost as the inductees have lesser careers than current inductees.
Couples, Montgomerie, the late Willie Park Jr., Ken Schofield and Ken Venturi will be inducted May 6 at St. Augustine, Fla., during Players Championship week.
For Couples' part, he is glad he will be on the dais and seems unconcerned with the comments of criteria and number of majors won.
“If I was in the Hall of Fame already and I'd won one major or eight majors, I don't know what I would say if someone got in the Hall of Fame," Couples said. "But obviously I have one and I'm in, so I'm thrilled to death.”