The World Golf Hall of Fame inducted four new members last week, including Nick Price and Annika Sorenstam. And while both players are certainly deserving of high praise, it's hard to believe they're already in their game's hall of fame. After all, Sorenstam is just 33 years old. Is she supposed to retire now?
No other major sport would induct an active player into its hall, but golf apparently wants to stand apart. It just makes no sense to me. How can you honor an athlete's complete body of work when they're still working on their portfolio? Can you imagine Barry Bonds receiving an invite to the Baseball Hall of Fame before he's even announced his retirement? It would never happen. Nor should it. For golf's hall to be viewed more credibly by the casual sports fan, some modifications are in order. Here's hoping the hall reviews its selection criteria before long and creates a more logical process. Feel free to add your comments to the debate and we'll print a selected number of them below.
I am sorry to say that I completely disagree with your viewpoint on Annika and Nick. They have done so much for the game of golf and are both outstanding examples ambassadors of the game. To say that they are too young or have to have deceased, to get this award is inconsiderate of their ability, arrogant and unfounded. If you continue to have these points of view, you will graduate to my trash can.
Michael Parker, via email
While I recognize the problem with picking active players for the golf hall of fame it is also true that golfers play their sport longer than any other athletes. If we need them to retire than Sam Snead would have only been eligible this year and Arnold Palmer would be ineligible for many more years (hopefully). The question should be not if these players are qualified but what happens if they become less desirable at a later date (a la Pete Rose).
Mark Eisner, via email
As usual, you are all wet on your criticism of the Golf Hall of Fame selections. Of course golf has different criteria because its potential members have a much longer time frame over which to play. The average career in baseball, basketball, hockey, and football is something around 10 years with the maximum time around 20. These people are still in the prime of their lives when they retire. Why do you think that golfers should have to wait until they are too old to appreciate the honours before they are granted?
Golf has specific criteria for selection and Annika, as an example, has proven herself by completing the criteria at her relatively young age with, perhaps, many more glories ahead of her. It takes nothing away from the other golfers to recognize her excellence and your opinion, as a non-competitor in that professional arena, means very little. Who knows what may befall us in life?
So many professional athletes have died before they achieved stardom and what is wrong with honouring the elite while they are still around to enjoy the adoration? Find something worthwhile to write about instead of sniping trying to come up with words on paper! It's not appreciated by those of us to follow the email articles!
Norm Walls, via email
Doug, I am on your side concerning hall of fame induction. No other major sport (baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and heck even tennis) would not even consider looking at a player still actively playing. There is absolutely "no way" you can effectively judge the merits of someone still in the game. Bottom line, to be considered for hall of fame induction a players competitive days can not exceed "X" number of tournament play for at least 3 years. Since, golf is a game you can play into one's late age it would be unfair to say they have to be retired as the other sports require.
Dominick Leone, via email
As long as any prescribed criteria are satisfied, a player should be admitted at any time in his/her career. Why wait until they are old and feeble?
Laird Levison, via email
I would have to agree with you on the Hall of Fame issue. You can have "Best New Golfer" or "MVG (Most Valuable Golfer) or something like that. You can give awards for the most fairways, fewest puts, most balls on the green in regulation awards, but to Hall of Fame them is not right.
Michael Alioto, via email
The problem I see with waiting until golfers "retire" before enshrining them in the Hall of Fame, is that they may "expire" before they get in. Unlike any other professional sport, you can actually play golf competitively until the day you die, or darn close to it. I agree that Annika getting in at 33 is insane, but if we want to see our golf heroes accept their spot we need to do it before they pass away or retire.
James Stammer, via email
I think inducting active players to ANY sport Hall of Fame, is a mistake, regardless of that player's statistics, I say this dispite your readers disagreeing with your point of view. For me, it's not mainly an issue of the forth playing that player will have in the future, but mainly an issue of keeping the sports real, and clean of any moral issue.
Take O.J. Simpson, not to say that Price or Sorenstam will do such a crime, but imaging inducting Kobe to the Basketball Hall of Fame, 2 years ago....... today, there'll would be a couple of heads going, naaaaaahhhhh, guess we made a mistake. An inductee to a Sport Hall of Fame, GOT TO BE an overall model citizen, human being excelling not only in their sport, but in his (her) lifetime achievements. They have to be youth models, people who anyone, regardless of race or creed should relate to.
Fernando Rivas, via email
Any sports' Hall of Fame should be reserved for participants who have retired from their respective sport. Do Tiger Woods, Brett Farve, and Roger Clemens deserve to be in their respective HOF? Most certainly. Should they be inducted now? Not in my opinion.
Bob Daniel, via email
I totally agree with you about the selection process for the World Golf Hall of Fame. However, these days the " Instant gratification fever" seems to be present in golf also.
Richard Cooz, via email
Be serious! The LPGA has a high standard that has to be met before one can be entered in its hall of fame, a number of wins that very, very few ever accomplish. It is to the remarkable achievements of Annika that she has qualified. Don't try to make it sound like nothing! She deserves this honor for her sensational play. Honor her!
Charles Dzarnowski, via email
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.
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