Standard Time The men's Hall of Fame should be as tough to get into as the women's

May 24, 1998

Chi Chi Rodriguez is in a hall of fame and Pete Rose isn't,
which is why I've never been a fan of such establishments.
Sports halls of fame are too political and too subjective, and
because of the pressure brought on by annual balloting, too many
players who were pretty darned good but not truly great are
inducted.

The best thing about the World Golf Hall of Fame, which held its
grand opening last weekend in St. Augustine, Fla., is the LPGA
wing. Now merged into a much-needed, all-encompassing golf hall
of fame, the LPGA's version is the only bona fide pantheon
because induction is based on a statistical standard. An LPGA
player must have 30 victories, including two majors, or she
doesn't get in. It's that simple.

Amy Alcott and Beth Daniel, two of the best women golfers in
history, are agonizingly close. Alcott needs only one more win,
while Daniel is short a major. If their induction were put to a
vote, the way it is in other sports, they would be elected
tomorrow. But the LPGA, and only the LPGA, sticks to a higher
standard. As a result, the 14 women enshrined in St. Augustine
are all wheat and no chaff.

Too bad the LPGA concept isn't used elsewhere. Based purely on
statistics, Pete Rose would be a Hall of Famer instead of a
political prisoner. Even Hank Aaron, the alltime home run king,
couldn't escape the politics of the baseball writers when his
name first appeared on the ballot, in 1982. Incredibly, Aaron
was not a unanimous selection. I knew a retired newspaperman
(veteran writers vote for life) who didn't vote for Aaron, and I
asked him why. "Babe Ruth didn't get in unanimously, so nobody
should," the old man said. Yeah, I thought, that's how to run a
hall of fame.

The subjectivism that's obvious in some of the PGA Tour's
choices is troubling. Take Chi Chi, a 1992 inductee. In 21 years
on the regular Tour, he won only eight times and never in a
major. Rodriguez had a nice seven-year run on the Senior tour,
during which he racked up 22 wins and became a star, but that's
not a hall of fame accomplishment. Besides, if we're counting
Senior victories, then Miller Barber (23), Bob Charles (22) and
Don January (22) should be in, too. Obviously, Rodriguez was
elected because of his charity work and because he's a goodwill
ambassador for the game--much like two other Hall of Famers,
Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. Using this rationale, I expect Hootie
and the Blowfish, Michael Jordan and Earl Woods to be voted in
next.

Although this year's inductees, Nick Faldo and Johnny Miller,
are deserving, the PGA Tour ought to show some guts and
establish meaningful entrance criteria. As things stand now, a
Tour player must be 40 and have 10 victories or two majors to
get on the ballot. (Not surprisingly, the Tour counts the
Players Championship as a major.) Seniors must have 20 wins or
five majors combined from the two tours. Under those standards,
Andy Bean, Frank Beard, Ed Dudley, Wayne Levi and Mark McCumber
appeared on last year's ballot.

I suggest that the Tour consider these minimums: 25 wins
including two majors or 30 victories and one major, and you're a
Hall of Famer. (Grudgingly, I would count the Players as a
major.) Playing on a winning Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup team
would count as a win, as would European and Australian tour
victories. Every third win in Japan or South Africa would count,
but Senior tour victories wouldn't.

Under these guidelines old-timers such as Lloyd Mangrum (36
victories, including a U.S. Open--how is he not in?), Leo Diegel
(30 wins, two PGAs) and Henry Picard (28, two majors) would be
in. Active players like Greg Norman (73 wins, two majors), Lanny
Wadkins (30 victories, counting five Ryder Cup wins, plus a
major), Tom Kite (22 victories, two majors, including his '89
Players victory, and four Ryder Cup wins) and Nick Price (35
wins, 10 of them in South Africa, and two majors) would also be
members. Ben Crenshaw would be in the same boat as Alcott, one
victory short.

There's no chance that the PGA Tour will do anything the LPGA
thought of first, so when this year's ballot comes in the mail,
I'll have to settle for writing in the seven players named above
who qualified under my proposal. It's just too bad we have to
vote at all.

The PGA Tour ought to show some guts and establish meaningful
entrance criteria.

B/W PHOTO: UPI/CORBIS-BETTMANN SLIGHTED Mangrum should be in.[Lloyd Mangrum]

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