HALL MONITORING

May 01, 2005

Congratulations to Vijay Singh, but didn't it seem odd that he was elected to the Hall of Fame last week? Candidates must have a minimum of 10 wins or at least two victories among the four majors and the Players Championships, 10 years on the Tour and be 40 or older in the ballot year. (Sorry, Tiger, you'll have to wait until 2015.) With 26 wins in the U.S., including three major championships, and 22 other victories worldwide, Singh certainly meets all the criteria, but there's still something counterintuitive about enshrining a 42-year-old who's ranked No. 2 in the world and playing the best golf of his life. Golfers don't generally retire--ever--but shouldn't the Hall wait until a player looks as if he's done with his major accomplishments before casting him in bronze? In order, here are the eight guys who, I think, should have gotten in before Singh, based on their age and playing ability. --Gary Van Sickle

NAME

LANNY WADKINS b. 1949

CRED

21 wins, 1 major, U.S. Amateur, 8 Ryder Cups

BUZZ

A second major would've helped, but he has more wins than a number of recent inductees

VERDICT

Should be a slam dunk but, unbelievably, hasn't come close

NAME

LARRY NELSON b. 1947

CRED

10 wins, 3 majors, 3 Ryder Cups

BUZZ

Deserving, but he's a dull guy who's been overlooked before--for the Ryder Cup captaincy

VERDICT

On 55% of ballots this year (10% short of automatic induction), which gives hope for '06

NAME

CURTIS STRANGE b. 1955

CRED

17 wins, 2 majors, 3 money titles

BUZZ

Best player in the game in the late '80s

VERDICT

Surprising support (50%) in debut tally; looks as if he'll get in

NAME

HUBERT GREEN b. 1946

CRED

19 wins, 1 major, 3 Ryder Cups

BUZZ

Terrific competitor whose career is equal to Kite's and Crenshaw's but whose arrogance didn't win friends

VERDICT

Further proof that voters apparently know little about golf B.T.-- Before Tiger

NAME

Tony Lema 1934--1966

CRED

11 wins, 1 major

BUZZ

Like Payne Stewart, Lema was just reaching his prime (32) when he died in a plane crash

VERDICT

He won as many times as Stewart, who's in the Hall, in 10 fewer years

NAME

Henry Picard 1907--1997

CRED

26 wins, 2 majors

BUZZ

A respected gentleman who was overshadowed by the likes of Jones, Hagen, Sarazen, Snead and Demaret

VERDICT

He has the numbers, but no one seems to care

NAME

Doug Ford b. 1922

CRED

19 wins, 2 majors, 4 Ryder Cups

BUZZ

Gruff, but one of the 1950s' finest before arnold palmer overshadowed everyone

VERDICT

He took care of business on the course, but he has no momentum in the polls

NAME

Craig Wood 1901--1968

CRED

21 wins, 2 majors, 3 Ryder Cups

BUZZ

One of game's early power players, he didn't win his majors until age 39

VERDICT

It's hard to believe this contemporary of Jones and Sarazen has been overlooked

COLOR PHOTOGARY BOGDON COLOR PHOTOWILLIAM B. PLOWMAN/AP COLOR PHOTOGARY BOGDON COLOR PHOTOSUSAN STERNER/AP COLOR PHOTO HULTON-DEUTSCH/CORBIS COLOR PHOTO BETTMANN/CORBIS COLOR PHOTOANDREW REDINGTON/GETTY IMAGES COLOR PHOTO BETTMANN/CORBIS

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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Eagle (-2)
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Bogey (+1)
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