World Golf Hall of Fame shakes up induction
The World Golf Hall of Fame announced changes to its selection process Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge.
With Hall of Famers Nancy Lopez, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam (via audio) in attendance during the final round of the PGA Tour event, Jack Peter, the hall's chief operating officer, outlined dramatically different criteria and selection procedures for admission to the shrine in St. Augustine.
The biggest changes concern the selection process, creators of the list of potential members and who will vote on the upcoming class.
Previously, ballots for the PGA Tour and international categories largely were voted on by media members, a process that mirrors the baseball and pro football halls of fame. Golf's new system creates a 20-person selection subcommittee to review all eligible male and female competitors and forward the candidates to a new 16-person selection commission that will make the final determination.
“We believe it puts the decision making of who gets into the Hall of Fame in the right hands,” Peter said of the benefits of a commission-driven system for selection.
“Individuals who know the history of the game, have a passion for the game, who know the players, who understand the qualities that make up a Hall of Famer.”
A candidate will need 75 percent of the vote to gain membership to the hall.
The 20-person selection subcommittee and 16-person selection commission consists of a cross-section of Hall of Famers, former players, administrators and executives from the various golf tours, golf organizations and media.
“I think when you've got hundreds of people voting, I don't think you can come to the right conclusion,” Player said. “Whereas, the committee and the people they've chosen now, it's an all‑around committee, but real professionals at it, and you've got media from overseas and here, as well.”
• Induction will be every other year, starting May 4, 2015, instead of annually.
• Four categories will be used for induction: male, female, veterans and lifetime achievement (previously, the categories were PGA Tour, international, LPGA, lifetime achievement and veterans).
• The female category for eligibility will allow for a player who has 15 career victories or two major championships. The LPGA's hall will keep its 27-point system, which means that a player could be inducted into the world hall but not qualify for the LPGA hall.
• An eligible male player must have 15 victories, five more than the current 10 titles under the PGA Tour category, or two majors or Players Championships. The change eliminates a convoluted points system under the international ballot.
• Male and female candidates must be 40 at the start of the selection year or removed from active play for five years.
The new criteria will make it more difficult for male players to get on the ballot, but will make it much easier for female players to be considered for inclusion in the hall.
Under the previous 27-point rule, players such as Laura Davies, Dottie Pepper and Meg Mallon did not meet the standard for induction. Under the new system of 15 victories or two major championships, each would qualify for the ballot – with likely induction – though they still will be shy of the points needed for the LPGA's hall.
“I just think that women will be more recognized and to win 15 tournaments, two majors, that's an amazing feat in itself.,” Sorenstam said. “I certainly support this criteria and I think now the LPGA will be working with the World Golf Hall of Fame, and these women's accomplishments will be recognized a little sooner.’