ORLANDO, Fla. -- The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum will introduce a new process for individuals to be inducted beginning with the Class of 2015, in an announcement made today by PGA TOUR Commissioner and chairman of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors Tim Finchem. The changes are the result of an extensive review of the Ballot and Nomination process announced last fall. The review included an evaluation of the ballot system and voting body, along with criteria such as tournament victories and age, and the changing dynamics of the game and its constituents.
The Induction process will now be governed by a Selection Commission made up of 16 individuals who will be responsible for electing candidates into the Hall of Fame, with each Inductee needing at least 75 percent of the vote to gain entry. The Selection Commission will be Co-Chaired by Hall of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Annika Sorenstam and will include the members of the World Golf Foundation Board of Directors and a mix of institutional and at-large seats. Lopez, Palmer and Player were on hand for today's announcement, while Sorenstam participated via teleconference.
"The Hall of Fame has established itself as the place to celebrate golf's greatest players and contributors, and this process will ensure it maintains that place as the game continues to grow and evolve," said Finchem. "The World Golf Foundation Board of Directors unanimously approved the changes to the process and we applaud the Hall of Fame team for working diligently to make this happen, along with all of the Hall of Fame members who have agreed to participate."
"This is a great step for the Hall of Fame," said Palmer. "I was honored to be a part of the first Hall of Fame class 40 years ago in 1974, and it will be a privilege to serve on the Selection Commission with Nancy, Annika and Gary for the Class of 2015."
"Golf is a global sport with a rich heritage that's centuries old," said Sorenstam. "I am honored to have been asked to play a role in determining which men and women have made the greatest impact and deserve the ultimate honor of enshrinement in the Hall of Fame."
In addition, a Selection Sub-Committee has been established to oversee the qualification and vetting process and is responsible for submitting finalists for consideration to the Selection Commission. The Selection Sub-Committee will be comprised of 20 individuals, including six Hall of Fame members and a mix of institutional and at-large seats.
"The Hall of Fame has done a wonderful job with these changes," said Lopez. "From the LPGA Founders to the players of my generation to the ladies winning today, the women's game has always been a big part of the Hall of Fame, and this process will continue that tradition. I am thrilled to serve on the Selection Commission."
"It is a great honor to be a part of this change to the selection process for the Hall of Fame," Player said. "It is important to preserve the past and the traditions of this game that we all love and enjoy, and with this comes the responsibility for us to recognize those individuals who have significantly contributed to the success of our game. I look forward to being a part of this Selection Commission."
The new process will include four categories under which an individual may be considered for Induction: Male and Female Competitor Categories and the Veterans and Lifetime Achievement Categories.
The Male and Female Competitor Categories will have similar criteria for qualification: a player must have 15 or more official victories on approved tours or at least two victories among approved major events. Each player also must be at least 40 years old at the start of the year selections are made or at least five years removed from active competition. The Veterans Category will include players whose careers were primarily completed before 1975, and the Lifetime Achievement Category will continue to be made up of individuals who contributed to the game from outside of the competitive arena.
The new process will begin with the Selection Sub-Committee meeting this spring to debate the candidates in all four categories. It will then present five finalists in the Male and Female categories and three each in Veterans and Lifetime Achievement to the Selection Commission. In the summer, the Commission will discuss the merits and vote on the 16 finalists. Each new member of the class must receive at least 75 percent of the vote. Each class will include no more than five inductees. The Class of 2015 will be announced later this fall.
Starting with the 2015 event, the Induction Ceremony will become a biennial celebration with the following Ceremony taking place in 2017. The Hall of Fame is working with its television partners to create an enhanced promotional strategy, focusing on expanding coverage of the Induction Ceremony. The additional time between Ceremonies will also serve to heighten anticipation for each event.
"The changes to the process and Induction Ceremony will serve the long-term interest of the institution well," said Jack Peter, Chief Operating Officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame. "The changes take the unique nature of the game and its candidates into account and, most important, will continue to allow the Hall of Fame to recognize worthy individuals. We also viewed this as an opportunity to increase the engagement of Hall of Fame members, and we are grateful to all the members who assisted us during this review and who will participate in the process going forward."